Winemaker's Comment - Autumn 2022

Putting vintage 2022 safely to barrel should be a thrill.  But, despite the excellent quality of picture- perfect fruit, in honesty it was more a deliverance. Never before have I felt so relieved to finish a vintage, even more so than 2020 with the first appearance of the pandemic. We enjoyed a superb growing season that was a little warmer than average with very benign conditions throughout. The harvest started relatively early and with the warm and sunny conditions, we needed to pick fast. This was supported by the much larger than normal picking crew that we had put in place for contingency, as we anticipated Covid’s peak in Central Otago might synchronise with the harvest. Somehow, we managed to get through completely unscathed with our strict protocols paying dividends. And, wow, with the big picking team did it arrive fast: just over half the vintage picked in 5 days! When you’re just four or five in the winery facing such a barrage of fruit, losing a couple of the team for a week or more doesn’t bear thinking about, not to mention the scary thought of potentially losing your sense of smell or taste when you simply can’t be without it. The utter perfection of the grapes was a real saviour for my frayed nerves.

What definitely is a thrill is to be presenting a new wine with this release. MacMuir is the first new Pinot Noir for us since Cornish Point with the 2007 vintage and Calvert in 2006. The land was part of the original Calvert holding that we began leasing in 2001 when it was a hay paddock and nut orchard. After several years of working on the soils while pestering Owen, he eventually relented and agreed to sell it. We commenced planting in 2012 to a higher density, improved row orientation and some new clonal selections of 828 and 943, along with our own carefully selected Abel, and some other favourites. While it’s just a few hundred metres west of our Calvert vineyard, it impressed from the first harvest with its deeper and richer soils always providing an intensity of fruit and plushness. This has contributed impressively to the Bannockburn Pinot Noir for many vintages now, but its unique voice deserved to be heard alone. The name MacMuir comes from Nigel’s family: his mother was of the Muir clan, so he is a MacMuir: the son of a Muir. The Muir name is long associated with Bannockburn with half the subregion and two other vineyards bearing the name (probably because the ancestors of the Muir clan fought at the battle of Bannockburn).

These 2021 Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are not only wines we think are of exceptional quality; they are also our 25th vintage release. For a few days from November 18-20, please mark your calendars to come join us in Bannockburn and help us celebrate this special milestone. Along with several other events and tastings throughout the year, we plan to swing open the cellar doors, dip the thief in some barrels, twist the tops on many bottles, wander the vines, hold some in-depth vertical tastings and a couple of special dinners at our local culinary hotspot, the Bannockburn Hotel. We look forward to seeing you and having you share this milestone with us.

Enjoy the new releases, stay safe and well.

Cheers Blair