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2022 Vintage Report: Fast and Furious

Growing season (Oct-Apr) data:

Rainfall (mm)

Season 21-22 20-21 19-20 18-19 17-18 16-17 15-16 14-15 13-14 12-13 11-12
October 31 15 84 61 44 42 26 35 105 69 110
November 10 102 43 94 7 118 21 55 67 33 87
December 171 61 104 86 25 44 31 29 36 82 113
January 12 15 8 6 49 52 70 3 48 43 76
February 280 26 23 32 143 53 17 36 23 69 36
March 45 42 148 28 63 62 19 41 71 95 111
April 15 51 97 98 139 48 84 172 35 70 103
Totals 564 312 415 404 429 510 232 283 522 426 603

 Growing Degree Days (heat units)

Season 21-22 20-21 19-20 18-19 17-18 16-17 15-16 14-15 13-14 12-13 11-12
October 109 121 80 93 104 93 85 75 100 75 85
November 187 130 200 144 154 146 118 117 152 88 120
December 246 192 210 233 255 186 187 190 225 232 189
January 248 248 233 305 337 215 264 255 191 230 210
February 217 200 269 223 259 211 299 187 204 186 165
March 193 178 170 229 217 181 221 199 145 175 140
April 98 106 98 86 101 100 106 125 123 119 79
Totals 1298 1175 1260 1313 1427 1132 1280 1148 1140 1105 988

The title of this vintage report doesn’t allude to the mental state of the winemaker (although there were moments!) but more to the compressed nature of this year’s harvest. A roller coaster of a growing season carried through to harvest with grapes ripening in a narrow window and with the threat (and reality) of rain hovering. Staffing challenges and Covid added to the mix and it was to everyone’s credit that the crop was picked and processed in a two week window from 17 March to 1 April. In contrast to almost everything else, yields ended up almost bang on long-term averages.

In reverse of last year, the first half of the 21-22 growing season was, despite a wet December, near to perfect. Flowering conditions were benign and a big crop seemed likely. The second half of the growing season was more challenging as a look at the rainfall tally for February and March confirms with February in particular receiving twice as much rain as the previously wettest February of the last ten years. While heat units were at the upper end of the range they were not exceptional and certainly sufficient to ripen the crop. As our harvest dates have gradually shifted earlier the impact of February rain has become more pronounced as grapes that are nearly ripe are more susceptible to fungal diseases (botrytis) and splitting. That was certainly the case this year and a lot of work dropping diseased fruit was required to protect the clean fruit that was subsequently harvested. This reduced the crop to a more average size and meant that further rain over harvest was more of an annoyance than negatively impacting quality.

In summary then, despite the variable growing conditions and significant pre-vintage rainfall the condition of the harvested grapes held up surprisingly well and while mixed, the overall quality is sound and the best parcels are very good indeed. My assessment of the 2022 vintage is that the wines are likely to be more fruit forward and perhaps less structured than usual which will make for earlier enjoyment and a shorter cellaring requirement. The exception to that prediction is the top label components which will continue to be selected for structure and ageing potential even if that means smaller volumes of those wines. Finally, while the overall quality is solid rather than outstanding, there will be gems from the 2022 vintage for those prepared to search them out.

Here are the average harvest parameters for each variety:

Variety Brix pH Acidity (g/l)
Chardonnay 23 3.3 8
Pinot Noir 24 3.6 8
Sauvignon Blanc 22 3.2 8

Roger Parkinson

April 2022

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Nga Waka, 41 New York Street West, Martinborough
PO Box 128, Kitchener Street, Martinborough

Phone +64 6 306 9832 | Email: sales@ngawaka.co.nz | google map

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