Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Newest Grape Growing Area Passes First Test


New Zealand's Newest Grape Growing Area Passes First Test

The harvest of five hectares of pinot noir grapes in the Waitaki Valley today looks set to silence those sceptical of the area's grape growing potential.

The premier harvest at Waitaki Valley Estate's trial block at Doctors Creek near Otiake will be carried out by hand and will be completed within a day.

And the signs are promising despite what has been a challenging year for grape growers around the country with frosts hitting Hawkes Bay vineyards and Marlborough's viticulturalists battling second bud burst caused by early frosts.

Otago Regional Council data shows below average growing degree days (the measure of heat accumulation over a growing season) this autumn for North Otago based on readings taken at Oamaru Airport and Windsor.

Despite below average degree totals relative to historic records, Waitaki Valley Estate's longer growing season has resulted in a physiologically riper crop relative to Central Otago vineyards.

Two of New Zealand's top winemakers will lend their expertise to the project with John Forrest of Forrest Wines and Greg Hay of Central Otago's Peregrine Wines overseeing this year's harvest. Peregrine recently employed last year's winemaker of the year Michelle Richardson who will assist Dean Shaw in making half the wine.

Dr Forrest, who owns vineyards in Marlborough, Central Otago and Hawkes Bay, is among a growing number of viticulturalists lending their support to the venture.

"The area shows real potential. The grapes have ripened free of rot in what has been a difficult year for viticulturalists. Despite less than ideal conditions throughout the rest of the country, the fruit shows excellent flavour and chemical analysis," he says.

"What I've seen so far is potentially as good as any pinot noir grapes I've seen in Marlborough or Central Otago this vintage."

Sugar in the fruit reached optimal levels this week.

"The current vintage is the first opportunity we've had to assess the potential of fruit grown in the Waitaki Valley. It's been extremely reassuring that promising early indications are coming to fruition," Mr Hay says.

"One of the noticeable differences is that due to the gradual autumn, vineyard canopies in the Waitaki Valley have been able to function. That has allowed fruit to ripen for a lot longer than many other regions throughout the country this vintage."

Dr Forrest will harvest about 60% of the trial block, which will yield five tonnes of grapes destined for processing into around 3,500 litres of wine at his Marlborough winery.

The grapes will be fermented in small open fermenters and the wine then aged in French oak for about ten months before being bottled next autumn. At this stage no decisions have been made about which label the wine will eventually be sold under.

Waitaki Valley Estates represents a group of businesspeople, including Howard Paterson, Colin Reynolds and Stephen Cozens, who recognised the Waitaki Valley's previously untapped potential at a time when supply of quality viticultural land is under pressure in established grape growing regions.

Following the success of this year's vintage, the Company has reassessed land prices at the current subdivision and will increase prices from $20,000 per hectare to $30,000 per hectare.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Mycoplasma Bovis: More Properties Positive

One of the latest infected properties is in the Hastings district, the other three are within a farming enterprise in Winton. The suspect property is near Ashburton. More>>

ALSO:

Manawatū Gorge Alternative: More Work Needed To Choose Route

“We are currently working closely and in partnership with local councils and other stakeholders to make the right long-term decision. It’s vital we have strong support on the new route as it will represent a very significant long-term investment and it will need to serve the region and the country for decades to come.” More>>

ALSO:

RBNZ: Super Fund Chief To Be New Reserve Bank Governor

Adrian Orr has been appointed as Reserve Bank Governor effective from 27 March 2018, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

ScoopPro: Helping PR Professionals Get More Out Of Scoop

Scoop.co.nz has been a fixture of New Zealand’s news and Public Relations infrastructure for over 18 years. However, without the financial assistance of those using Scoop in a professional context in key sectors such as Public Relations and media, Scoop will not be able to continue this service... More>>

Insurance: 2017 Worst Year On Record For Weather-Related Losses

The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) announced today that 2017 has been the most expensive year on record for weather-related losses, with a total insured-losses value of more than $242 million. More>>

ALSO: