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Alastair Maling MW, Villa Maria group winemaker, is hoping for a drier February, and forecasts that yields will be down in Marlborough.
The region has had a cooler spring and beginning of summer than usual, with growing degree days 10% behind the long term average for the same time period.
As well as being cooler there has been low levels of sunshine and regular rainfall through December which has resulted in an extended flowering period across all varieties
Phenologically it is 10 to 14 days behind.
The cool flowering temperatures has meant that fruit set is variable across the entire region and the general feeling is that yields are going to be down on previous years, and a number of blocks may not reach target yields.
There were also several significant botrytis events over the flowering period, however most blocks had protection on before the events occurred.
Waipara conditions are similar to Marlborough, with a cooler flowering situation and lower crop potential.
“The season to date has not been remarkable,” says Mailing.
But a run of very sunny, warm weather has seen blocks develop more quickly and most varieties are in veraison. He adds, “a lot of additional leaf plucking and canopy work has the vines looking very good for a fine season ahead.”
The Gisborne growing season has been slow and Auckland had 116mms of rain in December and 113mms of rain in January. “So far very wet,” says Mailing, “but, the later part of January has seen some excellent hot weather.”
The Gewürztraminer has had great fruit set in some areas, and the Pinot Noir is ready for netting soon.
“No more rain will be great from now on.”
Story by Carol Emmas
Courtesy of Harpers Wine & Spirit Trades Review