Winemaker's Comment - Autumn 2023

Vintage 2023 is all safely in the barn - every farmer’s fervent hope. While we were fortunate in Central Otago not to suffer from the devastating consequences of Cyclone Gabrielle, we did experience our own, much milder, version of a wet and cool finish to the season. After a hot, dry summer, we were nervously anticipating a harvest that would be both early and fast: one lacking the edgy conditions that almost always make our wines more profound and complex. However, from late February to the end of harvest in mid-April, we received almost half of our annual average rainfall. Fortunately, with the dry summer already banked, there were no precursors for disease and the fruit did not suffer. Also, a cold southerly in late-March brought snow to the surrounding mountains and a series of frosty mornings. While the frosts were not damaging for us, the cool weather (four snowfalls on the hills before harvest was done) contributed to a lengthening of the ripening season that more than made up for our fears of a warm and simple” growing season. But it needs serious attention to detail in the vineyards to create the sort of resilience the vines need to ‘shrug off’ a few weeks of character forming weather! In this instance, and to our relief, it worked. As we have been pressing off the 2023 Pinot Noirs and putting wines to barrel, we have been impressed with the depth and complexity. There is no doubting, 2023 will be a special vintage for us.

A joyful part of the 2023 vintage was the return once again of our international interns who work the summer months in the vineyards and stay for the harvest. Growing vines with the attention to detail we need to match our quality aspirations requires a large vineyard team. There is a lot of hand labour that machines just simply cant replicate. These young winegrowers and recently graduated students not only add interesting diversity to the team, their commitment and passion for fine winegrowing assists us greatly. We thank them for their work, the inspiration they give us and trust they return home to their vineyards and wineries with similar inspiration from their experience here.

In mid-November, celebrating the release of our 25th Vintage, we hosted around 300 of our mail order customers at the winery to taste the newly released wines, a range of back vintages, barrel tastings of the 2022s, a seated 10 vintage vertical spanning 20 years, culinary treats, along with lunches and dinners at the Bannockburn Hotel. It was very special for us to open the cellar doors and an opportunity to spend time with our customers, and for them to engage with our vineyard and winery team. Its an event that we have hosted at five yearly milestones. However, the interest and fun we all had has made us realise that we need to host an event like this more frequently. Watch this space, we will be sure to give you plenty of notice. View a summary video of the weekend here - gallery/videos

The 2022s we are releasing are all delicious wines from a very successful vintage. They are opulent, textured and amongst our finest - we trust you enjoy them.