The 2011 growing season has thrown some interesting weather at us. The first half of the season was warm and dry but in January temperatures dropped and have stayed unseasonably cool and wet for much of the rest of the growing season. Overall we have still managed to come through with a great finish to the season due to some diligent vineyard management and keeping crops low. We’re delighted with the amazing fruit that’s been picked so far. This year’s harvest started slowly on Wednesday 30th March with a short day as we took a little Pinot Noir from the House Block. They were just 4 year old vines and their first “producing” season so we had to ensure the vines had a well balanced yield given the youth of the vines. Over the next couple of days we picked mainly Pinot Noir including the Abel clone of Pinot Noir from our Lakefront block– always a lush and flavorsome section of the vineyard! After three days of harvest we had partially picked 4 of our 8 clones of Pinot Noir – with still a lot of vineyard to go! Winemaker and official harvest scheduler, Olly Masters, tasted a lot of fruit on the Monday of Week 2 of harvest, and as usual, Olly is not in a rush to get the fruit off the vine as he waits for the berries to develop the flavours he’s looking for so we didn’t resume picking until Wednesday.
The first white varietal to be picked was the Sauvignon Blanc on our “Ski Slope”. It’s an interesting area to harvest. We pick mostly downhill as the bucket runners would simply not manage to get full buckets up the steep slope to the tractor and trailer and our picking crew would struggle to climb uphill as well. Thank goodness for the Misha’s Vineyard mini-bus to get them from the bottom of the hill to the top in order to start another downhill run. Ski Slope also tests the brakes on the tractors with two 400kg harvest bins on the trailer facing straight down the slope to the lake. The Sauvignon Blanc from Misha’s Vineyard is quite different from the more typical Marlborough style of Sauvignon Blanc produced in New Zealand. It’s more tropical and luscious than herbaceous and grassy. We think it’s the stunning view these vines have that makes the difference!
Friday started with 7 1/2 tonnes of Clone 667 Pinot Noir from Lakefront then we switched to Gewürztraminer – all .95ha of it in our “Fruitbowl” section of the vineyard. Gewürztraminer is one of the best varietals for being able to taste the wine flavours in the fruit before processing. It has really delicious lychee and musk flavours with a fruit sweetness that makes you want to munch on bunches while you’re picking!
Thanks to this year’s hardworking harvest team from Germany, Poland, Japan and of course New Zealand. It’s tough getting up in the cold to be picked up in town and driven up on site ready to start snipping at 7:30am. The starts can be quite icy until the sun starts to warm the air, but of course running up our hills warms everyone up!. However the spectacular view from Misha’s Vineyard on a beautiful Central Otago day is worth it!