Wednesday, 13 December 2023 16:25

Haere Ra 2023: Central Otago

Written by  Staff Reporters
Matt Connell Matt Connell

Matt Connell's winemaking palette includes colours from across Central Otago, from Gibbston and Alexandra, to Bendigo and Bannockburn.

The Good

2023 has seen good numbers of visitors returning to the various cellar door offerings in Central which has been welcome. Covid-19 greatly affected visitor numbers to the region, which relies heavily on visitors for additional exposure and income. The 2023 vintage was very solid from a winemaking point of view. The white wines came through very well, with vibrant flavours and good acidity. Pinot Gris was slightly more challenging, taking longer to reach ripeness and with additional variability, possibly due to a cold snap in November 2022. The weather posed some problems for viticultural teams, with handpicking during the middle of harvest affected by rain events over a couple of weeks. The season went on to dry out, and the majority of the fruit was in excellent condition. Pinot Noirs in barrel look very solid and show good subregional definition, flavour and balance, and I would expect some very good wines as a result.

The Bad

As with all wine production across the country, the rising costs of all inputs and increased compliance costs has been a challenge and looks to remain so for the next little while. Inflation is obviously affecting people's spending power and this also provides challenges for us all.

& The Awesome

Our main focus outside winemaking for ourselves and a great group of clients has been reworking our cellar door to offer more curated experiences. We now offer a range of tasting options by appointment, and the result for us as a smaller business has been fantastic, with increased engagement with our customers and the ability to also find time for ourselves outside wine.

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Hearing Matt Connell discuss Central Otago's subregions reminds me of a parent describing their children - each of them unique, all of them beloved.

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