The theme song for Vintage 2010, with apologies to Dragon must be “April Sun in Martinborough”. Looking at the season as a whole however, it is the 2-month periods at both the start and end of the 2009-2010 growing season that tell the real story of Vintage 2010.
The season got off to a very slow start with cool temperatures prevailing through October and November. The combined heat units for those two months is the lowest we have recorded since the frigid 1992-1993 season when suspended fine ash from the 1991Mt.Pinatubo eruption was the culprit.
Despite the cool daytime temperatures the frequency and severity of spring frosts were at the lower end of the range. Flowering was a good 2-3 weeks late and rather patchy as the variable yields at harvest demonstrate. The middle period of the season was average with respect to rainfall and temperature so we started the key ripening period of March-April still a good two weeks behind. In mid-March it would have been a brave person indeed who would have predicted the vintage to be any better than average.
From the middle of March through to the end of April there was negligible rain and, more importantly, a seemingly endless succession of fine, warm autumn days which ensured that the grapes would ripen properly and in perfect condition. Harvest started two weeks later than normal, in mid-April. Thanks to the exceptional autumn weather the quality potential of vintage 2010 now looks well above average. Considering the precarious position we might have been in without it, we have much cause to be grateful for the April sun ………….
Here are the average harvest parameters for each variety: