Fuseworks Media

Hot days, cool nights and a great vintage

Hot days and cool nights are the stuff of dreams for winemakers leading up to vintage and this year those dreams are a reality in the Wairarapa, with some predicting “one of the greatest vintages ever”.

“The excitement for the 2024 vintage is felt by everyone in the region after a super warm summer with really hot days and cool nights coming along at just the right time. It is a relief after a few tough years to have a beautiful year with very good quality grapes hanging in the vineyard,” says Wilco Lam, chair of Wairarapa Wine Region.

Foley Wines winemaker John Kavanagh, who heads the winery team at Te Kairanga, says the 2024 vintage has the potential to be one of the greatest ever. “The very dry summer with great heat and cool nights has given us excellent potential to make wines with great structure this year. I have high hopes,” says Kavanagh.

Harvest is predicted to be slightly early this year, says Lam. This is earlier than typical for the region, possibly by about a week for some winemakers and for a few days for others.

“The the choice of picking dates is dependent on the flavours that winemakers want to capture in the wines they make. The sweeter flavours of fruit or the more deeper, concentrated flavours are options we think about when choosing picking dates. Most people will definitely be picking by the third week or March, if not by mid March.”

The volume of wine made in the Wairarapa from the 2024 harvest is forecast to be reduced, however, by 15% to 20% on long term averages.

“This is due to cooler temperatures at flowering which tends to lead to lower volumes. The cool nights in late February this year were a positive for winegrowers because they enable grapes to retain freshness but the pronounced north west winds this summer may lead to thicker skinned grapes. This is an opportunity as well as a challenge to be managed in the winery,” says Lam.

The biggest challenge in the Wairarapa Wine Region this summer was managing irrigation regimes and sustainability in water use.

Let vintage 2024 begin.


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