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Golden summer of 05 best ever Waiheke wine vintage


24 May 2005

Golden summer of ’05 best ever Waiheke Island wine vintage

Despite a cool start to the grape growing season, Waiheke Island vintners are picking that Waiheke’s 2005 vintage will be the island’s greatest – and produce possibly New Zealand’s finest Bordeaux-style reds ever.

Waiheke Winegrowers’ Association president Tony Forsyth says that although winegrowers across the island reported lower than normal yields, they are all excited about the fruit’s exceptional quality. The Association represents 28 winegrowers.

A long cold spring and early summer led to a reduced fruit set, which was not helped by hail in December. At that point many vintners were preparing for the worst. Instead, Waiheke Island enjoyed its driest summer since 1918, which resulted in grapes achieving optimal maturity.

The four-month drought reduced both bunch and berry size, resulting in a higher skin to juice ratio. This has resulted in deeply-coloured, concentrated, flavoursome wines, with the structure to age very well.

“Waiheke Island’s 2005 vintage will go down in history as one of our greatest - and possibly one of New Zealand’s greatest as well,” says Mr Forsyth.

Other Waiheke Island winemakers share Mr Forsyth’s excitement.

Gretchen Goldwater of Goldwater Estate said Waiheke Island’s 2005 vintage had been exceptional across the board. “In 23 vintages on Waiheke, Goldwater Estate has never recorded such perfect ripening conditions”.

Neill Culley of Cable Bay Vineyards commented that the combination of low yield, minimal rainfall and excellent heat accumulation resulted in grapes achieving optimal maturity. “The resulting wines display excellent depth of flavour, great balance and promise of great drinking over many years.”

John Dunleavy of Te Motu Vineyard agrees: “Although we are down on volume, we are very happy with the quality of the grapes harvested. There is absolutely clean fruit with some of the best analysis we have ever had. The small berries, a result of the long dry ripening period, will provide some very intense and concentrated wines.”

Mr Forsyth, owner of Te Whau Vineyard, says the hot, dry summer will result in great white and red wines alike. White wines will be the first releases of the 2005 vintage, coming on to the market around October / November. Red wine fans will have to exercise a little more patience and wait until late 2006.


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