Saturday, 09 December 2023 15:25

Haere Ra 2023: Auckland, Tamaki Makaurau

Written by  Staff Reporters
Tai Nelson. Photo Credit: Amber Soljan Tai Nelson. Photo Credit: Amber Soljan

Following one of the toughest vintages Auckland has experienced, Soljans Estate Vineyard Manager Tai Nelson was named New Zealand's 2023 Young Viticulturist of the Year. He shares some of the highs and lows of a year of hard mahi.

The Good

Coming through a season like the one we've just had with anything to show for it is an achievement all on its own. The importance of adapting and preparing for the impacts of climate change was made clear. We have also seen wine tourism coming back quickly in our region, and our industry's resilience after such a vintage is an opportunity to show the world our true mahi and spirit.

The Bad

2023 was a vintage of rain, rain and more rain. Here in Auckland it came at exactly the wrong times in the early season, with heavy falls around New Year's, then of course the Auckland Anniversary floods and Cyclone Gabrielle two weeks after that. What it gave us was extraordinarily high disease pressure and ground too soggy to drive the tractor on.

& The Awesome

While the vintage was certainly challenging, at Soljans we had the opportunity to experiment and try new things with the fruit from our home block. The extreme weather meant we simply couldn't bring it to full ripeness, but we have made some delicate and delicious wines from one of the hardest vintages this decade.

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