Friday, 07 April 2023 16:25

Vintage 2023: Marlborough

Written by  Staff Reporters
Te Whare Ra Mendoza Chardonnay, from 44 year old vines, coming in beautifully for vintage 2023. Te Whare Ra Mendoza Chardonnay, from 44 year old vines, coming in beautifully for vintage 2023.

Despite one of the most challenging Marlborough growing seasons Clive Jones has seen, he's feeling "very positive" about the 2023 vintage.

"Everything is looking really good at this stage; we just hope it remains that way," says the Nautilus Winemaker and General Manager on 9 March, a week after the first fruit was harvested for sparkling wine. "We think we're in a better position than we were this time last year." Yields are about 10% lower than 2022, which he welcomes. "And while we have had a challenging season, we have nothing to complain about compared to what has happened in the North Island."

Cloudy weather and continued bouts of rainfall throughout summer fuelled disease pressure, and well managed spray programmes - a difficult ask in inclement weather - were key to keeping the threat of powdery mildew, downy mildew and botrytis at bay. More rain could turn the fruit quite quickly, "but if we get a half decent autumn it's a good crop," Clive says. "The vines look quite well balanced. We just have to get it home now."

Weather summaries for December through February have been close to typical, and fruit is looking sound in the lead up to Sauvignon Blanc harvest, which Nautilu expects to begin near 23 March. That's later than recent harvests, but close to the long-term average, he adds. "Kicking into Sauvignon in the last 10 days of March is very typical. We are tasting it on the vines. They're not ready yet, but they are looking promising."

Speaking on 20 March, Te Whare Ra's Anna Flowerday says the 2023 vintage is "very exciting", with "magnificent" fruit crossing their sorting table. "It's so thrilling to see the wonderful results from all the hard work and dedication that our team have put in over the growing season".

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