Pinot Noir has been one of the emerging stars of Marlborough’s wine industry, and rightly so. It’s come a long way in the last decade, both in terms of viticulture and winemaking. We’ve been making Pinot for a number of years now, always aiming at sourcing the fruit from special blocks of land that express the unique character of Marlborough.
Pinot thrives on the North facing slopes of the Southern Valleys & Hawkesbury in the Wairau region and on the high river terraces of the Awatere Valley. The clay soil types in these vineyards lend themselves to growing Pinot Noir and seem to work miracles when combined with plenty of sunshine hours and good attention of our viticulturist, Jeremy Hyland.
The new Pinot block at Meadowbank vineyard, tucked away in the hills perching above the Ben Morven Road, is one of those special blocks of land that provides just the right growing conditions for Pinot Noir. It has been showing great promise ever since it’s planting in 2013. As we look ahead to the first harvest from this vineyard the excitement levels are starting to run high. In Jeremy’s own words, if everything goes well we might be in for some “kickass wine”! That’s of course weather permitting. We are keeping a close eye on the vines now as we are only days away from the start of flowering.
The weather, temperatures, humidity and wind during flowering/fruit set will all determine the yield and the quality of the fruit we will harvest in March and April next year. We’ll have our fingers crossed for warm days, plenty of sunshine and most importantly no rain or night frosts!
While waiting for the flowering to kick off we have been keeping the fast growing foliage under control by doing some wire lifting. As self-explanatory as it sounds, it involves lifting the metal wires that run along the rows to ensure that the shoots grow upright rather than to the sides (for the viticulture geeks out there, this is called “vertical shoot positioning”). Leading the shoots up means that more leaves in the canopy get exposed to the sun and it keeps the fruiting area accessible for other important tasks required in the later growing season.