Thursday, 14 December 2023 15:25

Haere Ra 2023: Waitaki

Written by  Staff Reporters
Dave Sutton Dave Sutton

From Te Kano Estate in the Waitaki Valley, winemaker Dave Sutton offers insights into the year that was.

The Good

A cooler summer and long warm autumn made for elegant wines with lots of flavour concentration at lower alcohol levels.

The Bad

The usual issues around labour created a lot of challenges through the growing season, with rapid canopy growth proving difficult to get under control. This followed through to harvest, with some growers suffering significant losses due to late season botrytis and a lack of available pickers at critical times.

& The Awesome

Once again, the spirit of the Waitaki shone through, with great collaboration and sharing of knowledge and resources between vineyards through the growing season and harvest. For growers who managed to get their fruit harvested in the critical window, the young wines are stunning - explosively aromatic whites and delicate, poised Pinot Noirs.

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Vintage 2023: Central Otago & Waitaki

At the other extreme of the nation's weather stats, Central Otago had low rainfall from December through February, with 44.4mm of rain (37% of the LTA) in the 82 days from 1 December to 20 February.

Altogether Unique: Waitaki

Two hours and a climatic chasm from Central Otago, Waitaki has a its own place in the tapestry of New Zealand wine.

Waitaki – Worth The Effort

It was just a decade ago when the first ever wine was made in the Waitaki Valley, with the subsequent releases riding a wave of hype and well deserved critical acclaim. However, Craggy Range withdrew a few years back; its largest player, Pasquale has announced it’s pulling out and “for sale” signs are now scattered through its vineyard area. So what’s happened to a place so full of promise?

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