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2014 vintage season (full report)

By September, last year's canes were pruned and a single cane tied down for the 2014 vintage. Apart from some early winter frosts and the odd snowfall, winter was relatively mild and pleasant for pruning. Soil temperatures were ahead of average leading into what looked like being a very early bud burst.

A cooler period of weather in September and early October help delay bud burst long enough for early shoots to avoid a few frosts. Frosts in October and early November meant frost fighting was reasonably frequent.

This first photo from 15 Oct was just after a minus 3-4 degree frost. This was a hard frost. The impact of these chilling snaps resulted in a setback for flower development and subsequent berry development. As a result bunches were smaller and more open, which is good.

After an exceptionally warm spring (Oct-Dec), on a par with the very warm 2006 and 2011 vintages, temperatures fell out of bed in January. January 2014 was the coolest January we have recorded in our short nine years of records.

In February stable fine warm weather returned although slightly cooler than average. On two nights (24th and 25th) temperatures dipped to zero. In March there was a near frost on the 1st and it was another coolish month but overall it was great ripening weather.

When most of New Zealand was receiving heavy April rain we managed to escape with only a few millimetres. April is typically dry with cool nights and hot fine days with large diurnal temperature ranges. This year April’s temperatures were moderated with lower highs and higher lows and the final ripening taking place in quite different circumstances from what we normally experience.  Regardless the fruit was in perfect condition with excellent flavours and balance.

Harvest was completed 23 April. The following week we received five light frosts followed by minus four degree frosts on 30 April and 1 May.

With the bunch sizes and the quality of the fruit we are expecting 2014 to be quite a special vintage.
Growth on the same site three weeks later on 6 November
Flower development on 16 November. The weather during flower development has a big influence on berry size.
By 2nd December about 5% of vineyard is flowering and at least two weeks ahead of last year. By 6th December the vineyard was almost 100% in full bloom. Possibly the fastest flowering we have ever seen.
The daily temperature chart shows perfect flowering weather. Five days of warm and stable conditions.
Bunch development 30 January and looking good.
Average bunch weight this year was 113 grams. The lowest since the 2010 vintage. Overall vineyard yield was on target.