Rodney Times : February 1st 2011
8 RODNEY TIMES, FEBRUARY 1, 2011 NEWS A bumper crop on way Harvest sign: Bird nets go on at what winegrowers call veraison, which is when the bunches of hard little green berries start to take on their varietal colour while getting plumper, riper and sweeter. Colour change: The vintage is expected to be bigger than last year. When the nets start going on to the grape- vines it's a sign the grape harvest is nigh. And the 2011 harvest is expected to be New Zealand's biggest yet. All the signs are that the vintage will be at least as big as last year, 266,600 tonnes, and probably larger up to a maximum of circa 300,000 tonnes,'' New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive officer Philip Gregan says. At least half of the grapes making up this figure will come out of Marlborough, and the majority of those grapes will be sauvignon blanc. Soisthereariskofa wine glut? In reality, the amount of wine produced in New Zealand is really just a blip on the radar. But with too much sauvignon blanc pro- duced for only locals to drink, export markets are paramount. When markets haven't been established, or export contracts are broken, that's when the wine glut'' occurs. It happened in 2008 when rain set in during the sauvignon blanc har- vest and diluted grapes that hadn't been picked. Combine a bumper crop with inferior wines that can't be exported and a surplus occurs. New labels are created to protect the provenance of premium brands and consumers have a field- day picking up bargain- priced wines. On the other hand, cheap wine means some wineries will end up try- ing to trade out of receiv- ership, or go out of busi- ness. The 2011 season is looking to be quite stel- lar at this stage, particu- larly around Auckland, despite the recent heavy rains. If we were going to have a storm, this was the time to have it,'' Ascension Wine Estate's Darryl Soljan says. Berries are still hard, so no splitting, and botrytis will be fine for vineyards that haven't taken shortcuts with leaf plucking or spraying.'' He says they have a potentially large crop but will thin grape bunches to the level they need. At this stage he expects harvest to start around the third week of March. Jaison Kerr of Kerr Farm Vineyard says that vintage is predicted to be a couple of weeks earlier than usual in Kumeu. James Rowan at West Brook Winery says their Waimauku block is usually picked later than Kumeu and, despite the changing weather pat- terns, they usually pick the same time each year. He expects the first grapes to come into the winery from Matakana in the first week of March, but it all depends on the weather.
January 27th 2011
February 3rd 2011