Good vintage expectations after cooler summer

Quartz Reef vineyard interns (from left) Joel Welander, of Sweden, Raphael Servin, of France, and...
Quartz Reef vineyard interns (from left) Joel Welander, of Sweden, Raphael Servin, of France, and Kiri Spain, of Alexandra. The interns hold the three Quartz Reef Vineyard dogs (from left) Popcorn, Archie and Beau. PHOTO: YVONNE O’HARA
The 2020 Central Otago wine vintage is shaping up to be one to toast despite a cooler summer.

The weather is to blame for later-than-usual harvesting of sparkling wine grape varieties, beginning only yesterday and harvest of pinot noir varieties is up to two weeks away.

Perserverance Estate Vineyard owner Jennie Hughes said the summer had been a challenging one for her grapegrowing operation at Muttontown between Alexandra and Clyde. The lacklustre start to summer had not extended through the whole season, something she was thankful for.

"All that heat we had in the middle of summer pushed things along, thank goodness."

The art of producing wine was all down the the skill of the winemaker but she believed the grapes produced by Perseverance were good this year.

Quartz Reef Bendigo Estate winemaker Rudi Bauer said this year’s sparkling vintage looked to be similar to that of 2017 when conditions in Central Otago were cooler than usual, especially in December.

Yesterday marked day one of sparkling wine grape harvesting in Central Otago with grapepickers setting to work on Quartz Reef’s 30ha vineyard in Bendigo.

"Everything is on the cards for a really good vintage. Rain at the wrong time or frost at the wrong time are the only obstacles," Mr Bauer said.

Central Otago Winegrowers Association past-president James Dicey said the cooler-than-usual summer meant harvests were 10 days to two weeks behind.

"That’s depending on where you are. Pinot is down a little, but the whites are where you’d expect them to be."

Mr Dicey said he believed vintages produced in cooler conditions were among the best.

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