A network of study sites on hill country farms around New Zealand is now providing a wealth of information and research to help guide farmers around pasture forage decisions.
"The last hard vintage was back in 2012, so Mother Nature has been kind to us," she says, looking back over the latest season of benign weather, close to average yields and quality fruit.
The season started around 22 February, which is the earliest harvest she has experienced in 20 years on the land, beating last year's already early start by three or four days. "The region did have a decent frost this sprin which was interesting," says Kirsten, of the biggest frost event they have seen in the region for many years. It "tickled up" a few vineyards, although Matawhero was largely unscathed. And the vines rallied, with crops across the region only slightly down, says Kirsten. "It was pretty much average for us in terms of yields across the board."
Low disease pressure and good sunshine, with just one rain event during harvest, made for "good ripeness and good acid and pH balance at picking, she says. "It's a good vintage, with wines that with cellar reasonably well."
As well as enjoying vintage conditions, Gisborne wine companies with cellar doors are enjoying the boost in tourism caused by Covid-19. People who might otherwise winter in Europe are exploring the East Coast, along with its wineries, she says. "People are starting to come back and are reconnecting with the East Coast and Gisborne wines."