Vintage Report 2022 - A Demanding and Memorable Harvest
Labour shortages, Covid and weather all impacted vintage 2022, but those who had the work force and ability to put in the extra work into the vineyards and were prepared to dig deep in the winery were rewarded.
Significant rain in winter through to late spring marked the end of three years of drought for Marlborough. Warm early December temperatures meant an abundant and very welcomed successful flowering and fruit-set - which was a stark contrast to 2021. During the warm and dry summer it was apparent that crops were likely to be bigger than average. We instructed our growers to reduce crops at this time and they dutifully green thinned - a decision we are so grateful for now as this really was the deciding factor between average and excellent quality.
In late February we had several significant rains which replenished the soil moisture levels that had reduced during summer. In the two weeks that followed we had cool days and nights which meant the natural acidities remained high. Due to more rains in early March, disease pressure started to kick in for some who had not done the groundwork in the vineyard. Handpicking is a very useful tool in these years and therefore there was a lot of sorting going on in the vineyard and at the fruit receival.
Our harvest dates were similar to previous years and slightly later than the record-early 2021 season. Starting on 16th March with our Reed Vineyard Chardonnay we finished exactly two week's later on the 30th March with the Holdaway Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc.
It was a fight for hand-pickers due to the previous two years of border closures and as we entered the busiest harvesting window for Sauvignon Blanc, in late March, the region was dealing with the peak of Omicron hitting many of the wineries. This placed some serious stresses on personnel and was responsible for many an extra grey hair!
Nonetheless, we got there, thanks to our handpick crew led by 'Fast Eddie' and friends, family and neighbours who all pitched in to get some excellent Blank Canvas fruit into the winery.