A guide to the 2016 harvest: New Zealand

New Zealand winery scenesAlthough a challenging year, with El Nino leading to an unsettled spring and warm drought-like conditions in some regions, the 2016 harvest seems promising for New Zealand overall.

Here is a round-up of the harvest by a few of our producers:

Craggy Range
Hawke’s Bay: From cool and wet in September, to temperatures above 30C in January, the Gimblett Gravels Vineyard experienced it all. Chardonnay from this area is showing good flavour development and acid preservation, while patience and very selective harvesting was essential for Merlot. Similar patience was required for the Syrah and Cabernet, which led to excellent quality.

Martinborough was the star region for 2016, with an almost perfect growing season. While the white wines from this dry season will probably not reach the aromatic high points of 2014, the fruit was immaculate, which should result in wines with beautiful weight, texture and length. The young Pinot Noirs are equally showing purity, with moderate alcohol and fine grained tannins.

Marlborough was dry during 2014/15 and with El Nino, many feared for the worst in 2015/16. However, a relatively mild spring – followed by warm and rainy conditions in January – resulted in the largest berry weights on record for the region’s Sauvignon Blanc.

Quartz Reef
Central Otago experienced a challenging growing season, with a cool and very windy spring, followed by a hot, arid summer. The harvest started in early March with the sparkling base and the last pick was mid-April with Gruner Veltliner.

The season saw very good flavour profile development at much lower sugar levels than usual – perhaps a sign of vine age and a result of their biodynamic farming practices.

Spy Valley
The 2016 harvest began a week or so later than usual, with typically unreliable spring conditions. The Pinot Noir was picked with an excellent concentration and low crop levels, with a real mix of flavours, particularly cherry. The Sauvignon Blanc is flavoursome, and noticeably fresh and vibrant.

Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer are showing a lovely spicy ripeness, while Chardonnay is displaying a little less citrus and more of the stone fruit flavours. Riesling in particular achieved very good ripeness while retaining its acid freshness – it has less lemon/lime and more stone fruit characters than usual.


Find out more about the 2016 harvest across the rest of the Southern Hemisphere.

7th June 2016

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