As you’ve likely been seeing, reading and perhaps working… all over New Zealand we have had a truly exceptional season, in every sense of the word. The overall quality of fruit has blown us all away and the final hurdles of the harvest have been higher than ever with the arrival of Covid-19 ~ but that hasn’t stopped us over on Waiheke!
Mudbrick Viticulturist, Nick Otto reports:
After the difficult start to the season, with some of the blocks at our Mudbrick restaurant and Hawks Crest sites suffering hail damage and all blocks being battered by constant windy wet weather in the spring, the season has turned around to be without doubt the best I have ever been involved with!
To go through from harvesting Chardonnay in mid February to our final block of Petit Verdot in April with perfect fruit at every step has been incredibly satisfying and the sense of excitement about the wines that could come out of this harvest is high. Volumes have been only slightly down on last season and some of the ripeness levels achieved have been incredible in the reds due to the intense heat experienced through January and February.
With the long drought on Waiheke Island this summer, some of our blocks that are not traditionally strong performers have actually produced some of the best fruit as they are on soils that hold a little more water; allowing the vines to avoid becoming excessively stressed and keep ripening through the dry period.
The Covid-19 Level 4 lock-down certainly presented us with a lot of uncertainty at the critical time in the red harvest, but we were fortunate to be able to continue harvest as an essential industry – thanks to lobbying from NZ Wine. We took the responsibility to safeguard our staff very seriously with extra care taken at every stage of the harvest and the creation of a small harvest ”bubble”.
Once we got our systems in place we worked through the bulk of the red harvest with a small, dedicated team of Mudbrick staff from other parts of the business to bring in the vintage of a lifetime!
Massive thanks to them and the vineyard and winery team. Overall a remarkable season. We cant wait for blending!