Winemaker's Comment - Autumn 2017

21: Our 21st vintage is safely tucked away in the cooling cellars. Central Otago’s southerly and mountainous location afforded us great protection against the unsettled late summer and early autumn weather. Consequently, we were fortunately never challenged by rain or grey skies leading up to or during harvest. Quality across our three varieties is superb with lovely balance, depth and focus to all the wines. It’s too early to really comment on their specific characters, but there’s little doubt that 2017 will make rather profound wines. Sadly though, windy weather during flowering took its toll on yields, so volumes are our smallest in 10 years; which will be most frustrating at release time. But we must put this into perspective as in our 21 harvests to date, our yields have been surprisingly and reassuringly consistent. We must ride the highs and lows - it’s farming after all.

20: These 2016 Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay are our 20th vintage release, another great milestone. The oldest vines are now 25 years old and along with the wines, everything is feeling a lot more grown-up. We now don’t have to search so hard for complexity or individual aroma and flavour notes: balance, harmony and completeness is just so much more inherent now.  2016 was our warmest year we have ever had and that’s resulted in a charm and lovely openness, flow, and appeal to the wines. They’re not hot or big, quite the opposite: fine and silken. They pleasantly and evocatively remind us of the warm sunny Central Otago summer.

13: Last month we were notified of probably the greatest accolade we have ever received. UK trade publication, Drinks International, annually publishes their 50 most admired wine brands, as selected by their panel of 200 wine writers, MW’s and trade professionals. Out of nowhere, Felton Road appeared on this list at number 13! We were positioned amongst established global superstar wine brands that have generations of history and prestige: brands like Chateau Petrus, Latour, Guigal, Vega Sicilia….the list goes on… we were extremely humbled that the industry thinks of our brand so highly.

10-12: In writing and compiling this newsletter, it’s evident that the last 12 months have been filled with significant highlights and milestones. Also, as previously mentioned, we have a new barrel cellar and cellar door that need to be properly christened. To that end, we’re planning a winery open weekend on November 10-12. The emphasis will be on “open” with many bottles to taste from the last 20 years, barrel tastings, open cellars, visits to the Vodoo Lounge (Biodynamic prep shed!), sit down vertical tastings…..We do hope you can come and spend some time with all of us, share a glass, and experience and celebrate our journey so far. We’ll send more specific details and a reminder later in the year but here’s advance notice for you to plan your Central Otago spring time visit!

4: Enjoy these four new releases!


Blair Walter