Posted by Steve Smith
Well, it is easy to get lost in New Zealand (or "go bush" in local colloquialism, which does not refer to becoming a political refugee!). Errant road signage can send you deep into the mountains or off a cliff into the Pacific. There are kidnappings by overzealous kiwi birds. Row 3215 in our Gimblett Gravels vineyard seems to be a hard row to get out of. And my kids have an unusual habit of wanting to lock me in the broom cupboard when I do get home, as that means I at least hang around for a few days! I have explained that it is very hard to play chase when I'm locked up, but they are keen to keep me under lock and key. Luckily, or unluckily (as I can create chaos during vintage), my wife let me out, and I was able to return to the fold. Whatever happened to me, you will never know, but I'm back blogging now, and I have some news.
First of all, we are still in the middle of vintage in Central Otago and Marlborough; it's a late, cool and dry vintage that I will give a few more details about next week. But the real news that I love is that, across the board, our yields in Marlborough are much lower than in 2008. The growers and vineyard managers have really lived their viticulture in 2009, dropping crop extensively and, at the same time, really upping the standards of canopy management. This has been a fantastic collaborative industry approach, which was critical for success in 2009.
Wineries are very optimistic at this time. We're 60 percent through vintage, and the grapes have super intensity, fresh acidity and concentration. Exciting to watch.
However, in my next post, I really want to comment on something that I have never seen before. Check back later this week…
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