Winemaking in Central Otago

Did you know?

The first winemaker attracted to Central Otago was John Desiré Feraud who came to the area during the Dunstan gold rush of 1862, and after investing in a claim became rich overnight. Feraud, who was from a French winemaking family, recognised the potential for grape growing, and leased 40 hectares in Clyde where he planted the first wine grapes in 1864.

Over the next 20 years, he made a variety of wines even winning a prize for his Burgundy-style wine in Sydney in 1881. His farm, named Monte Christo Gardens, was an extensive garden of fruit trees, vegetables and 1200 vines, along with a winery which still stands today.

During this period, viticulturalist Romeo Bragato also visited Central Otago and declared the area as one of great potential for grape growing. However Feraud and Bragato’s enthusiasm for grape-growing did not spread to others and when Feraud left the region, commercial winemaking ceased. Over the next hundred years, no one tried to grow grapes again and the focus for Central Otago was on sheep farming and fruit production.

It wasn’t until the late 1970s/early 1980s that grapes were once again planted with the first commercial wines being produced again in 1987. So it’s been a little over 20 years since the riches of the land have been rediscovered.

2 iconic Central Otago wineries presented by Cenna Lloyd, Negociants

The wines tasted:

  • 2018  Two Paddocks’ Single Vineyard Pinot Rose
  • 2017 Misha’s Cantata Pinot Noir
  • 2018 Two Paddocks’ Pinot Noir
  • 2017 Two Paddocks’ Riesling
  • 2015 Misha’s Limelight Riesling
  • 2019 Misha’s Dress Circle Pinot Gris
  • 2018 Misha’s The Cadenza Late Harvest Gewürztraminer

     

For the 19 members and 1 guest that attended, this was a great tasting as evidenced by the fact that 101 bottles were ordered, such was the quality and pricing.

The low turnout was a disappointment but upon reflection, there were 3 couples overseas and another 4 people that contacted us beforehand and apologised because of sickness. These were 10 people that almost always attend and that, coupled with other regulars I have since heard were either out of town or sick, probably explains the low turn out. It can happen sometimes.

Cenna began her tasting presentation explaining the locations of Two Paddocks and Misha vineyards and as luck would have it, the wines presented covered the 4 main Central Otago sub-regions of Alexandra, Bannockburn, Gibbston Valley and Bendigo, Not covered was the area around Pisa Moorings or Wanaka.

She went onto explain that the reason for tasting the 2 Pinot Noirs first was so that any residual sweetness in our mouth from the whites would not destroy the delicacy of the 2017 Misha ‘Cantata’ Pinot Noir. All 3 red wines were excellent reflections of their styles but I especially enjoyed the savoury notes each had as compared to the dominate cherry flavours that tend to be more evident in other Central Otago Pinot Noirs.

The surprising wine of the night was Misha’s 2015 ‘Limelight’ Riesling. 4 years on, it still had a bright fresh citrusy flavour, This was a medium style Riesling with 34 grams/litre of residual sugar and I especially liked its delightful lingering finish. It’s hardly surprising to find later that wine writers have given this wine 5 stars. And to the surprise of everyone present, Jenny joyfully announced that she had finally found a white that she liked.

Misha’s 2019 ‘Dress Circle’ Pinot Gris was another of their whites to find great support from members. It had flavours of pear, citrus and spice, This is a very pleasing aromatic wine that will go well with Asian cuisine, which is hardly surprising, given that the owners worked in Asia for 16 years and set out to develop wines that would suit Asian as well as Western foods.

Of the two wineries, my personal favourite was Misha Vineyards with their theatrical named wines. So it was only fitting that the finale for the night was their 2018 ‘The Cadenza’ Late Harvest Gewurztraminer. This medium-sweet wine had aromas of apricot making it an
excellent match with fruit-driven desserts or with soft cheeses. As I said earlier, a great tasting.

Save the date – Saturday 21st March 2020

This is the date of our planned day trip to the Wairarapa, the highlight of which will be a wine tasting and a lunch at Coney Wines.

A full itinerary for the day is being prepared and we will let you know the information once it is finalised.

In the meantime, please put this date on your fridge, in your diaries or use whatever favourite way of remembering you have. You will not want to miss this event.

South American wine & food matchings – November 2019

For the last 3 years, our November tastings have been a bit different with an emphasis on a foreign country and wine and food matches. November this year will be no different although this year it is a region, rather than a country.

Our presenter, Cenna Lloyd, departed after last month’s tasting for a 3-week tour of South American vineyards so her offer to return and give us her insight into the wine sub-regions we will taste was just too good to pass up.

The recipes have already been allocated and there will also be a special surprise that hopefully will add to a carnival atmosphere. Like last year, we will need to limit numbers to fit our catering. Unlike last year we will need to enforce that number or the risk will be the early bird may miss out on their worm. Ok, so it is a bad metaphor but you get the idea.

More information on how you can reserve your place will be released after this month’s tasting.

Your news fix, Save the date

From the Acting Editor,

Let me begin by again apologising for no newsletter last month. As I think I said in an email, Robin and Pat had to fly to Sydney suddenly and there simply wasn’t enough time to get it out.  There is still no word as to when they may return, so please direct any communications to myself of another of the committee in the meantime.

Your news fix

Hopefully, this month’s newsletter will provide you with your news fix. That said, the objective of this newsletter is to dissimilate information, often with a generous sprinkling of humour. Given there is much information for you to read in this issue, please don’t just put it to one side after a quick scan. You may miss something.

Save the date

I would especially draw your attention to the section on Save the Date – Saturday 21st March 2020. This is the first of 3 special themed events your committee is planning in 2020 to celebrate our 40th anniversary. A full calendar of events will be sent out separately so you can update your diaries. These last 2 months has been a funny old one for your committee with much drama going on in our lives, interspersed with overseas travel for 3 or us and a couple of major knee ops for another. Sadly included in all this, was the passing of Anne’s mum very recently. The club did deliver some flowers and card to Anne expressing our condolences on behalf of you all.

See you there next week,

Cheers Wayne Kennedy, Acting Editor

Celebrating 200 Years of New Zealand Wine

September 25, 2019, marks 200 years since the first planting of grapevines in New Zealand. From the humble beginnings of a vine planted in Northland, the New Zealand wine industry has grown to become a $1.83 billion export earner, with an international reputation for premium, diverse and sustainable wines.

Reverend Samuel Marsden, Chaplain to New South Wales (1765-1838), records September 25, 1819, as
the day he planted a vine in the rich grounds of the Stone Store, Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands. These
pioneering vines were the very first to be planted into New Zealand soils, with New Zealand being one
of very few countries in the world where the exact date of the planting of the first vines is known,
making our story unique on the world stage.

Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, a significant number of European immigrants came to New
Zealand and set up vineyards in different regions. They each contributed to the early establishment of
the diverse wine regions of New Zealand. The New Zealand wine industry today consists of over 700
wineries and more than 600 grape growers, with the growing success of this industry depending
strongly on the commitment and passion of the people behind it.

Since the 1990s, there has been an evolution in the grape varieties that we see planted throughout our
regions. Sauvignon Blanc is now the most widely planted variety, accounting for 76% of total production,
followed by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

As we raise a toast to the past, we also look ahead to the future. The New Zealand wine industry is
dedicated to ensuring that we celebrate another 200 years, through a commitment to sustainability and
innovation that will protect the places that make our famous wines. Over 98% of New Zealand’s
vineyard producing area is now Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) certified – and this is
unmatched by any voluntary scheme around the world.

New Zealand Winegrowers will be marking the 200 year anniversary with an industry event in
Northland, including a ceremonial re-planting at the historic Stone Store, followed by a regional wine
tasting and dinner on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

In his diary, Marsden prophesied, “New Zealand promises to be very favourable to the vine, as far as I
can judge at present of the nature of the soil and climate. Should the vine succeed, it will prove of vast
importance in this part of the globe.” His prediction has been brilliantly fulfilled.

For further information contact:
Amber Silvester
Communications Manager, New Zealand Winegrowers
021 794 381

Editors notes:

  • The first recorded wine was from James Busby in 1830s. Busby, the Crown’s Resident in New
    Zealand lived in what is now called the Treaty House at the Treaty Grounds in Waitangi. James
    Busby was the architect of the Treaty of Waitangi and is regarded as the first winemaker in New
    Zealand.
  • In 1840, naval officer and explorer Jules Dumont D’Urville visited and was disappointed to find
    Busby not in residence, but tasted a wine made by Busby. Onboard his ship, Astrolabe, Dumont
    D’Urville wrote the first New Zealand wine review in his journal, “with great pleasure I agreed to
    taste the product of the vineyard that I had just seen. I was given a light white wine, very
    sparkling, and delicious to taste, which I enjoyed very much”.

International demand for New Zealand wine at an all-time high

International demand for New Zealand wine shows no sign of slowing, with total export value reaching a record $1.83 billion according to the 2019 Annual Report of New Zealand Winegrowers.

Export value has risen by 6% in June year-end 2019, and at a retail level, this translates to over $7 billion
dollars of New Zealand wine sold around the world annually. The UK and USA led the growth, with the
USA continuing to be New Zealand wine’s largest market with over $550 million in exports.

The premium reputation of New Zealand wine has translated to real value in its major markets where
the country remains either the highest or second-highest priced wine category in the USA, UK, Canada,
and China. “This year’s export results again reflect the New Zealand wine industry’s strengths, and
reinforce our international reputation for premium, diverse and sustainable wines.” said John Clarke,
Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers.

The report highlights the completion of the 2018 PwC Strategic Review, the first within the industry
since 2011, which provided a wealth of usable insights into the state of the New Zealand wine sector,
challenges and opportunities. “The Strategic Review report noted the continued steady growth of the
industry, and identified a range of challenges and risks that need to be addressed to maintain that
trajectory and ensure all members have the opportunity to benefit” said Mr Clarke.

Mr Clarke noted the Strategic Review underscored how important all aspects of sustainability were in
order to maintain the New Zealand wine industry’s social license to operate. “As an industry, we need to
ensure our key focus is on enhancing sustainability initiatives. Sustainability is a cornerstone of the
reputation of New Zealand wine, and is vital to the ongoing success of our industry.”

Highlights over the last year include the completion of the first phase of the Bragato Research Institute’s
climate change programme, the commencement of a new research winery facility, and the International
Sauvignon Blanc Celebration, which saw over 100 international wine producers, experts and key
influencers visit Marlborough to experience New Zealand’s diverse Sauvignon Blanc offerings.

The 2019 Annual Report can be accessed here.

For further information contact:
Philip Gregan
CEO, New Zealand Winegrowers
021964564

Editor’s note:
• Wine is New Zealand’s sixth-largest export good.
• New Zealand wine is exported to more than 100 countries.

Vintage 2019: NZ Winegrowers

Small but stunning. A wonderfully warm summer has contributed to a superb vintage for New Zealand’s wine regions, with 413,000 tonnes of grapes harvested during Vintage 2019. Although smaller than anticipated, the quality of the harvest is being touted as exceptional from top of the North to bottom of the South Island.

Photo by Alissa Miller, Market Development Manager, Greystone Wines

New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan says a high-quality harvest is good news for the industry as export growth continues, with an increase of 4% to $1.78 billion over the last year. “We have an international reputation for premium quality and innovation. Every vintage is different, but winemakers are excited about the calibre of wine that will be delivered to the bottle and we are confident 2019 vintage wines will be enjoyed by consumers around the world.” However Vintage 2019 is the third smaller-than-expected harvest in a row, so volume growth is expected to be constrained. “Smaller vintages in 2017 and 2018 meant wineries had to work to manage product shortages, and many of our members hoped for a larger harvest this year.

Another smaller-than-expected vintage will mean more supply and demand tension overall.” says Mr Gregan. Wine is New Zealand’s sixth-largest export good, and New Zealand wine is exported to more than 100 countries.

Francesca Menzies 80th birthday

Francesca Menzies celebrated her 80th birthday a wee while back. Francesca doesn’t attend Club events very often these days, (a bit difficult now that she lives in the Nelson region) but she has been a member of our club since the very early days and is one of our valued life members. She has served on our committee as well as having terms as Vice President and President of the Club. A somewhat belated congratulations Francesca.

Best wishes and keep well.

Central Otago – Negociants, Sept 2019

This tasting will be lead by Negociants. They will be concentrating on two Central Otago Wineries. First will be Two Paddocks, well known through Sam Neill of course. The second is Misha’s Vineyard.

Little to report at this stage but as usual, more closer to the tasting.

The last paddock added to the Two Paddocks group. Their last acquisition (2013), located in the very heart of Central Otago wine on Felton Rd. in Bannockburn. Another superb site, now giving them fruit from all three major Central Valleys. It is six hectares, all Pinot Noir. (Ed; Maybe I can’t count but this seems like more than two paddocks.)
A landscape view of Misha’s Vineyard. Winter obviously