Vineyard Update November 2018
Shooting high for Quality
The new season’s shoots are away and growing. Everything looks green and healthy in our vineyard. At this time of year we count the florets (which look like little bunches of grapes) on a selection of vines to estimate the quantity of fruit on our vineyard. We have decided to reduce the number of bunches to ensure that we grow the best quality grapes. We do this by removing shoots which achieves two things. Firstly it reduces the number of bunches, and results in better quality wines with more concentration and flavour. Secondly, it opens up the grape vine canopy and allows better air flow for a healthy plant. This is important for all the varieties, particularly the Pinot Noir. Our aim is to make the best wine we can for you, which means starting in the vineyard.
Pinot and Sav resting beautifully & getting ready for bottling early 2019
I have just tasted the 2018 Pinot Noir which is still resting in our French oak barrels. The wine has good weight, and some lovely dark cherry flavours are starting to evolve. This wine will stay in oak until early next year, when we will make a decision on a bottling date.
The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc is still in tank on what we call “light lees”. The lees are the expired yeast cells and grape solids which fall to the bottom of the tank at the completion of fermentation. The lees help keep the wine fresh, and impart a creamy texture to the palate. It will bottled in early March next year.
Cheers Glenn, Winemaker
Vineyard Update September 2018
Pruning Complete – ready for the berries to burst
All the vines are pruned and still dormant. Although it won’t be long until we get the first awakening of bud burst. The current cold southerly conditions may hold that off for a bit longer.
We have left just the right number of buds to ensure we get high quality grapes, and enough fruit to satisfy all our customers.
We will watch the vineyard carefully over the next few weeks to look for the buds which swell up initially and final push out tiny green shoots. From there they grow quite quickly until the vineyard look green again.
Pinot Noir coming along nicely
The 2018 Pinot Noir is maturing quietly in its oak barrels. The malolactic fermentation went through early this year with no help from me. Malolactic fermentation is the secondary fermentation carried out by bacteria that usually takes place after the primary fermentation and results in a softer acidity in the wine. I will keep monitoring the progress, and we will look at bottling the Pinot Noir early nest year.
At the moment there are some nice fruit derived aromatics showing and the oak is beginning to integrate nicely.
Vineyard Update June 2018
This is the time of year that the vines go dormant. All the leaves have fallen, and vines look like skeletons with their canes pointing upwards. The vines are waiting for the pruners who will cut back the hardened canes until the correct number of buds are achieved to produce next year’s crop. We manage this carefully to make sure we get the right amount of grapes next season, but not too many.
Blending Our “Star Sauv”
In the winery I am blending the 2017 Boulder Rows Sauvignon Blanc which will need to be transferred out of the old French oak barrels it has spent the last 15 months in, to a stainless steel tank for bottling at the end of July. This is the style of wine that we recently won Platinum at Decanter World Wine Awards. We will keep you update on Facebook with the bottling process. The time spent in oak has allowed the wine to develop a rich creamy texture, flinty notes and an aroma of dried sage. I am looking forward to seeing it finished and ready to bottle.
Star warm out there!
Winter in the vineyard on our Boulder Block site
Vineyard Update March 2018
Autumn is harvest time in Marlborough, which is later than many other wine regions. Because the fruit has finished ripening during Autumn when daytime temperatures are a bit lower, and the nights are cooler, the flavours develop with more intensity. So, although we had a hot Summer, now that the temperatures have cooled off, the flavours are developing well, and they are retaining enough acidity to keep our wines naturally balanced.
Gita, Hola and a scorcher Summer
It’s been wet this year! Warmer waters have resulted in tropical cyclones retaining their strength outside of the tropical region, and New Zealand has experienced several of these! Thankfully the Awatere hasn’t been too badly hit, and the Tupari Vineyard holds up well under these circumstances. The free draining nature of our soils help with clearing the water away quickly. This growing season has also been hot! So altogether, it’s still looking like harvest will be early and currently we are very happy with how things are progressing.
At Tupari we have Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling all very close to being harvested. I was tasting the Riesling this morning with the viticultural team, and it was easy to distinguish the lemonade flavours with a hint of lime. The Pinot Gris berries are pink and taste of pear juice. The Pinot Noir bunches are almost black in colour, and looking very close to full ripeness.
The Sauvignon Blanc block is in perfect condition, and the flavours are looking great. We are looking forward to making a classically styled wine from Marlborough’s number one variety.
Autumn is an exciting time of the year for winemaker’s. All we need now is for the weather gods to stay on our side.
Cheers, Glenn – Winemaker
Vineyard Update February 2018
Summer berries galore!
Summer in the vineyard is the period where the berries actually grow bigger and start accumulating sugar. The tiny flowers that we talked about in the Spring newsletter now look much more like what most people would call a bunch of grapes (see below photo)
Out in the vineyard now, the Sauvignon Blanc is still hard and green, and not yet suitable for winemaking, although it is not too far away. As February passes us by, the individual berries will get bigger and sweeter and will soften. The softening process is known as veraison, and is also the time that red varieties start to colour up. Pinot Noir bunches go from green to black as veraison progresses. The hotter the weather, the faster and earlier this process proceeds. Because this Summer has been one of the hottest on record, we are now well ahead of an “average” season.
Keeping things in check
Work in the vineyard at this time of the year centres on managing the vine canopy to produce the best possible quality wine we can. This may mean that some fruit is taken off (thinning) in order to get the light and sun onto the rest of the plant to ensure we have the best flavours and are ready for Harvest. The flavours are developing and it is not long now until we find out what this season has brought us. Quality is in the canopy!
Have a great rest of your Summer
Cheers, Glenn – Winemaker
Vineyard Update November 2017
The 2017-18 growing season is a few days ahead of the last couple of years. Want to know why the winemakers around the country are obsessed with a a tiny little thing called bud burst? Because the time of bud burst will affect the harvest date. Bud burst occurred 4-6 days earlier than last year, which means we are on-track for a timely harvest.
Unique climate, unique ripening, unique flavours
The timing of bud burst varies per region, sub-region and even by vineyard. One reason why the Tupari vineyard site is so unique, is that it has it’s own specific mesoclimate (yes that’s a word!) created by our gorgeous geographical setting. This means our vineyard does not follow the “average” for Marlborough or even most of the Awatere. So, when we say our site is unique, we mean exactly that. Unique climate, unique ripening, unique flavours.
Flowers that turn into grapes
We can’t see the flowers yet, but they will appear shortly, and look like tiny bunches of grapes. I will keep you posted of the progress as these little flowers turn into bunches of grapes (weather gods willing).
Too much of a good thing
At this time of the year we carefully monitor the vines, and when we can see how many tiny bunches of grapes there are, we can make sure there are just the right number. If there are too many bunches, which dilutes the flavours, we will remove some by hand. Working one vine at a time until we have the perfect number to ensure the best possible quality.
Below images: Bud burst, Pink Pukeko Rosé and noble rot Riesling on the vine – perfect conditions for our Late Harvest Riesling
For Dessert Wine Lovers
The winery is busy preparing our 2017 Late Harvest Riesling for bottling. We have stored the wine at low temperature (<0C) for the last few months as it slowly falls clear.
It smells of honey and candied citrus peel and tastes luscious – your dessert wine lovers will LOVE this wine. It’s deliciously sweet. We only produce this wine when the conditions during harvest allow for the formation of “Noble Rot”. This sounds like an oxymoron, but if the berries don’t split, the rot or mould allows water to pass through the skin and concentrates the sugar and flavour inside the berry. Sugar and flavour a key and our award winning 2014 vintage (available now) illustrates the depth of flavour we can produce when the conditions are right. In 2014 and now in 2017 the conditions were perfect.
Another Sophisticated Savvy
Our 2017 Boulder Rows Sauvignon Blanc is maturing in oak barrels and will be bottled before next harvest. This wine relies on extensive lees ageing to develop the creamy texture and layers of secondary flavours that are the hallmark of our Boulder Rows. We taste it regularly to monitor the progress. The time and effort of crafting this wine in individual oak barrels is what makes it special. Who will love this wine – restaurants, wine lovers & sophisticated wine drinkers!
Cheers, Glenn – Winemaker