Flexibility Required for Marlborough’s 2022 Vintage – Hotel Magazine


Marlborough’s 2022 classic was edge-of-your-seat things, with greater yields, turbulent temperature and the unparalleled pandemic worries, in accordance to Sophie Parker-Thomson, Master of Wine (WM). It necessary a transform in mentality from sector, next a few consecutive many years of drought and mild crops the calendar year in advance of.

“There has been a temptation to replenish the empty pipelines with the bountiful yields – principally Sauvignon Blanc,” reported Parker-Thomson, who owns and operates Blank Canvas Wines with her husband, Matt Thomson.

Producers had to be meticulous in balancing that from the processing potential of their wineries, a prevalent scarcity of labour, an Omicron impacted workforce, and the dynamics of ripening crops in La Niña temperature circumstances.

According to Plant & Food Investigation Climate pro Rob Agnew, timing was almost everything for the classic. Malborough grape growers dodged a bullet, but not entirely. In December, rainfall coincided with flowering, main to latent botrytis infection that woke up in February, impacting early Sauvignon Blanc likely by way of véraison and ripening in grapes.

A subsequent dry spell from 20 February to 20 March was a large blessing that mitigated the effects. “If it had ongoing to be damp over all those four weeks, it would have been incredibly ugly,” reported Agnew. 

A heat October, November and December intended a good fruit established, with berry quantities for every bunch very well over average and substantial berry pounds. Nevertheless, a cold and damp February hampered the ripening period of time, described Simon Waghorn, Winemaker and proprietor of Astrolabe. 

“We started with lots of possible difficulties, notably with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, but the later finer climate retained that in test and meant we could get our fruit to the ripeness stages we ended up hoping for.”

Jamie Marfell, Winemaker at Pernod Ricard Winemakers Group, shared that their yields have been noticeably up on the extensive-phrase normal, putting the company again in stability soon after the gentle 2021 harvest. They had an early start off, partly due to the looming threat of Covid-19. “We had been very wary of the threat of getting rid of a lot of employees,” claimed Marfell. So, the team contracted 3 crews for sparkling wine hand harvest to minimise the hazard as an alternative of the common two.

By mid-March, Omicron started impacting personnel numbers. Overall flexibility became integral to every day workforce selections, this kind of as closing a change or slowing equipment harvest and grape ingestion to make sure fruit fermented inside 48 hrs in pristine issue. 

“Despite all the Covid and weather challenges of the time, there are some fairly fantastic stonking wines,” said Marfell.

Fellow board member and Winemaker at Hunter’s Wines James Macdonald agreed that adaptability was important to this season’s harvest. According to Macdonald, the Waihopai Valley subregion was a superior performer, with later ripening blocks that benefited from beautiful late harvest temperature. The Awatere Valley was also identified to have furnished fantastic yields and flavours.

Wine Marlborough Basic Manager Marcus Pickens revealed that it had been a yr of issues, with source pressures, labour shortages and worldwide delivery challenges leading to great anxiety. “While these points glimpse set to keep on to disrupt us, there is a large amount of relief that we properly navigated classic 2022.”


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