Glass a day keeps the doc away: Wines to boost your immunity

Mia Russell 14-12-2020 | thesouthafrican.comWine

A glass of good red can actually be beneficial as long as it's really just one glass. Image: Pixabay
A glass of good red can actually be beneficial as long as it’s really just one glass. Image: Pixabay

South Africans love their wine, and rightly so, as we have some of the best wines in the world.

And now we may have even more reason to love our favourite drink – studies have shown a compound found in red wine could be linked to boosting the immune system.

Researchers at the University of Florida in the US have found that, unlike many other alcoholic beverages, red wine does not suppress the immune system. In fact, it may help to boost it.

Many studies have shown that red wine in moderation may have some health benefits, including helping with longevity, lower blood pressure, and preventing coronary heart disease and some cancers.

Could red wine actually be healthy? Thankfully, yes, and enjoying a glass of wine can be part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, moderation is key and it is also important to realise that not all red wine is the same. Different reds have different levels of antioxidants.

How red wines can boost the immune system

Red wine contains naturally occurring compounds called polyphenols, which are found in the skins of berries, specifically grape skins. There are different kinds of polyphenols, including antioxidants like procyanidins and resveratrol, each of which has its own health benefits.

Resveratrol enhances the body’s ability to create anti-inflammatory molecules, which may lead to an improvement in the immune system. This antioxidant helps healthy gut bacteria to flourish by stimulating T-cell production and enhancing the body’s immune response.

Best wines to boost your immunity

Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo grapes from the Langhe wine region in Piemonte, Italy. Image: Adobe Stock
Nebbiolo grapes from the Langhe wine region in Piemonte, Italy. Image: Adobe Stock

The best wines for boosting the immune system are wines high in resveratrol and procyanidins, and low in residual sugar – the natural sugars left behind from the fermentation process.

Dry red wines with high levels of tannins and antioxidants should be your go-to varietals during cold and flu season. Some wines with high tannin levels may have an astringent or slightly bitter taste, so if you get headaches from the tannins, go for a low-tannin red with high levels of resveratrol like Pinot Noir.

Merlot

Merlot is the most planted of all grapes in France and the fourth most planted grape after Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage and Shiraz. It’s plummy, cassis-like flavours make it one of the more popular drinking wines with a softer, more seductive flavour than Cabernet.

And it’s good for you as it has high levels of the antioxidant procyanidin. Studies have shown that Merlot has demonstrated positive effects on the immune system.

Malbec

Malbec is a full-bodied red grape that grows mostly in Argentina. It is renowned for its plump, dark fruit flavours and smoky finish. The thick-skinned wine grape produces a bold red wine with rich notes of plum and cocoa, and is packed with resveratrol, making it a good choice to boost your immune system.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned grape with particularly high levels of resveratrol. This fruity, light-bodied, easy-drinking red has been linked to heart health and may help boost your immune system.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most widely recognised red wine grape varieties. This highly adaptable grape produces a full-bodied red wine with high tannins, and notes of dark fruit and baking spices.

It is packed with high levels of antioxidants that enhance immunity and help to protect cells against free radicals.

Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo is an Italian red wine from the Piedmont region that contains high levels of polyphenols like procyanidin. This varietal also contains melatonin, which helps to set the body’s circadian rhythm and may help with relaxation.

Petite Syrah

Also known as Durif, Petite Syrah is a full-bodied wine with rich flavours of blueberry, chocolate, plums, and black pepper, and notably high tannins. Due to its high levels of antioxidants like resveratrol, this varietal has demonstrated cardiovascular and metabolic benefits.

Despite its popularity, Petite Syrah is a relatively rare grape grown mainly in California.

Tannat

Tannat is a red wine grape historically grown in south-west France. It is a full-bodied, tannin-rich wine jam-packed with antioxidants, making it one of the healthiest red wines out there. It is also one of the most prominent grapes in Uruguay, where it is considered the national grape.

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Saint Clair Family Estate with Alison Downs – Oct 2020

Saint Clair Family Estate from Marlborough with Alison Downs
presenting.

Last month we had Saint Clair Family Estate from Marlborough with Alison Downs presenting.

This was an extremely well-presented evening and was enjoyed by all club members present – 40 of us!

It was interesting hearing Alison’s wine journey from the UK and Europe to the New World and her enduring wine passion and growing knowledge and experience.

The committee was unanimous in their agreement that Alison is probably the best presenter we have had in recent memory.

Our orders from the evening were substantial with people enjoying all the
wines presented, especially interesting to get to sample the Pinot Blanc, a new white grape for most.

  • 2019 Saint Clair Origin Pinot Gris Rosé
  • 2018 Saint Clair Pioneer Block 28 Pinot Blanc
  • 2019 Saint Clair Origin Hawke’s Bay Viognier
  • 2019 Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2019 Saint Clair James Sinclair Chardonnay
  • 2018 Saint Clair Pioneer Block 22 Pinot Noir
  • 2017 Saint Clair Origin Hawke’s Bay Merlot

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Vintage 2020 New Zealand statistics

After each vintage season, New Zealand Winegrowers surveys members and compiles vintage data snapshots for the industry.

NZ Wine Vintage Indicators by Region 2020

The total volume of grapes harvested and tonnage by wine region in 2020

NZ Wine Vintage Indicators by Variety 2020

The total volume of grapes harvested and percentage change on last year by key wine varieties.

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Saint Clair Family Estate – October 2020

14th October – This month we have Saint Clair Family Estate from Marlborough with Alison Downs presenting.

The Saint Clair Family
The Saint Clair Family

Saint Clair Family Estate was established by Neal and Judy Ibbotson in 1994, having been viticulture pioneers in Marlborough since 1978. From their first vintage, when all their wines won medals, including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today.

Saint Clair is 100% family-owned, with the next generation also involved in the day-to-day running of the company.

Daughters Sarina and Julie both work within the business in sales and marketing after studying wine business marketing at Adelaide and have a vast knowledge of the wine industry. Son Tony is responsible for the design of all Saint Clair’s packaging, promotional material and advertising. He owns a design consultancy business, the Creative Method, in Sydney. Tony designed the original Saint Clair labels back in 1994 when he was a student and has been refining and expanding the range of Saint Clair labels ever since.

Our mission is to create world-class wines that exceed their customers’ every
expectation.

Starter Wine

  • 2019 Saint Clair Origin Pinot Gris Rosé

Wine Tasting

  • 2018Saint Clair Pioneer Block 28 Pinot Blanc
  • 2019 Saint Clair Origin Hawke’s Bay Viognier
  • 2019 Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2019 Saint Clair James Sinclair Chardonnay
  • 2018 Saint Clair Pioneer Block 22 Pioneer Block Pinot Noir
  • 2017 Saint Clair Origin Hawke’s Bay Merlot

Book it in now – Tasting: 14th October, starts at 8pm J’ville Community Centre – look out for our sign outside

Door prices: $14 for members $18 for guests

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6 Major Mistakes You’re Making When Pairing Wine With Cheese

Betty Gold, August 19, 2020 | RealSimple

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Pairing wine with cheese is far from rocket science—even the “wrong” matches will still taste (mostly) stellar. That being said, you didn’t spend who-remembers-how-much on that sommelier-led pairing course last year to be left in the dark when you need the advice—and the brie—most.

Here, we tapped three wine and dairy professionals for the top mistakes people make when matching wine with cheese, plus how to fix them. Because who says you need to host a crowd to fix yourself a fancy, delicious hors d’oeuvres?

Pairing Red Wine With Soft Cheese

According to Laura Werlin, a James Beard Award-winning cheese author, red wine typically has more tannins and low acidity which can cause soft cheeses to taste chalky. Instead, reach for an equally full-bodied, flavorful cheese, such as an aged cheddar, if you must drink a red wine. The tannins act as a palate cleanser, making each bite and sip just as delicious as the last.

Mismatching Intensity and Flavors

Reddit: A guide for pairing wine and cheese. Posted by Ralome
Reddit: A guide for pairing wine and cheese. Posted by Ralome

The pairing rule of ‘like with like’ rings true when pairing wine and cheese. “In general, white wines pair best with lighter, milder cheeses,” says Werlin. This allows the fresh, often fruity notes of the white wine to enhance the sweet creaminess of the cheese. In fact, Werlin suggests pairing most cheeses with white wines. An unoaked Chardonnay pairs well with an alpine-style butterkase or Swiss cheese while Riesling goes with asiago or Parmesan, and Sauvignon Blanc with cheddar or gouda.

Forgetting the Palette Cleanser

“When tasting a variety of cheeses with wine, it is always good to have a palate cleanser,” says Ken Monteleone, owner of cheese shop Fromagination. He recommends Potters wheat or white crackers, water crackers, or bread (like a plain baguette, nothing grainy)—they act like sponges to absorb any lingering flavors. Also, avoid anything flavored or overly salty, as the point is to refresh the palate for each new wine.

Rushing Through Without Savoring the Process

“Before we start a tasting with a variety of our delicious cheeses, we like to open up the taste buds,” says Monteleone. “Pinch your nose and then un-pinch and you will be ready for a wine and cheese tasting.” Remember to savor and taste. “Slow down, look and smell, then taste. Visualize and isolate flavors as you’re tasting. Identify flavors in the wine and the cheese before moving on. Pay attention to texture and body.”

Playing It Safe

Cheese & Wine Flight for 2 – Milk the Cow Licensed Fromagerie

Pairing wine and cheese is all about finding new flavor combinations and having fun. “Try a Wisconsin original cheese, such as Sartori’s Merlot BellaVitano with Fantesca King Richards Reserve Pinot Noir 2018 and Crissante Barolo 2014,” says D Lynn Proctor, director at Fantesca Estate and Winery. “The style, the palate, the texture is simply amazing.” Cheese should take you on an adventure of taste and texture. Get out of your comfort zone by trying something unique like Roelli’s Red Rock, a bright orange Cheddar Blue combination. Bubbles are very forgiving, so a sparkling wine is always a good choice for cheese wildcards. Want another unique idea? Grab some bubbly and pair it with a blue cheese for an unexpected dessert pairing after dinner. The crisp carbonation of the sparkling wine will cut the creaminess of the bold, blue cheese.

Taking the Task Too Seriously

“You’re here to learn and experiment, and not every pairing is going to take the world by storm,” assures Molly Browne, the education manager for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional. “The worst thing that you can happen is that you eat something slightly less than delicious, and that’s just motivation to buy more cheese and try again.” And go outside your comfort zone. It’s great to pick one beverage to pair with one wine, but you will learn a lot more from tasting around the board/across the flight. “Once you’ve sampled your intended pairing, push your palate even further by trying an unintentional pairing and seeing what happens.”

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Two NZ vineyards make top 50 global list: Central Otago, Hawke’s Bay estates crack top 20

A list of the world’s 50 best vineyards for wine tourism has named a Central Otago and a Hawke’s Bay estate as being among the best.

And those two Kiwi vineyards rank in the top 20 in the world in the list out today.

The global list of wine tourism destinations named Argentina’s Zuccardi Valle de Uco in the top spot for the second year running.

Bodega Garzón in Uruguay was second for a consecutive year and Domäne Wachau in Austria jumped 16 places to claim the third spot this year.

But Central Otago’s Rippon, on the Wanaka-Mt Aspiring Rd, placed 13th and was also named the best vineyard in Australasia. The Hawke’s Bay’s Craggy Range was 17th best on the list. Last year, the biodynamic Rippon was in eighth place and Craggy Range was 11th.

13 AT A GLANCE:

THE BEST VINEYARD IN AUSTRALASIA

Name of wine estate: Rippon
Country: New Zealand
Wine region: Central Otago
Standout points: Jaw-droppingly beautiful views from the shore of Lake Wanaka; stunningly sleek biodynamic wines
Winemaker: Nick Mills
Wine style: Precise, site-specific noble varieties (Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewürztraminer)

Rippon, 2020 World's Best Vineyard (13th)
Rippon, 2020 World’s Best Vineyard (13th)

The list said Rippon had “jaw-droppingly beautiful views from the shore of Lake Wanaka, stunningly sleek biodynamic wines” from winemaker Nick Mills and “precise, site-specific noble varieties of Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer”.

Winter at Rippon
Winter at Rippon

“What makes Rippon one of the most desirable estates in the world to visit? The wines, the views and the people – in equal measure. Lake Wanaka, an ancient moraine lake, shimmering under the crystal light of a sunny Central Otago day must count as one of the most Instagrammable images on the planet. That Rippon maintains 15ha of vines in this immaculate landscape is wonder enough, but the quality and sense of place of its wholly estate-grown wines gives this little corner of heaven an extra special appeal,” the citation said.

Burgundy-trained fourth-generation Mills and his team were praised along with the organic and biodynamic methods and intensive handwork on display. “Rippon’s cellar door is open for small group tastings by uncharged appointment throughout the year. Expect to enjoy an informal yet informed tasting of some of the best wines of Central Otago as you’re guided through a selection of five or six Rippon wines by a switched-on member of the Rippon team, who will talk you through the farm, the family’s history and if you’re game, the arcane world of biodynamics,” the list said.

17 AT A GLANCE

Name of wine estate: Craggy Range
Country: New Zealand
Wine region: Hawke’s Bay
Standout points: Stunning location in the shadow of Te Mata Peak; luxury boutique accommodation; award-winning restaurant
Winemaker: Julian Grounds
Wine style: Multi-region, site-specific wines, everything from aromatic whites to Bordeaux blends, and terroir Syrahs and Chardonnays

Craggy Range, 2020 World's Best Vineyard (17th)
Craggy Range, 2020 World’s Best Vineyard (17th)

On the 17th-ranked Craggy Range, the list said it was in a “stunning location in the shadow of Te Mata Peak, luxury boutique accommodation; award-winning restaurant”. It cited winemaker: Julian Grounds and said wines were “everything from aromatic whites to Bordeaux blends, and terroir Syrahs and Chardonnays.

Terry and Mary Peabody & family
Terry and Mary Peabody & family

“Over the past 20 years, Terry and Mary Peabody have expended every possible effort to make Craggy Range an exceptional visitor experience. Whether it’s the cellar door, inspired by some of the Napa Valley’s leading wineries, the award-winning restaurant with 360-degree views of the local landscape, or Craggy Range’s exceptional boutique accommodation, expect nothing but the best in this beautiful little corner of Hawke’s Bay,” the list said of that operation established in 1998.

“When it came to establishing their vineyards, from the off Terry and Mary pursued an innovative multi-regional approach, focusing on the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke’s Bay, ideally suited to high-quality reds including Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and Te Muna Rd in Martinborough – better for Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc – to produce a range of wines that speak eloquently of their place,” the list said.

“On a typical cellar visit, former New Zealand sommelier of the year Michael Bancks greets guests at the door and begins the tour in the main cellar building, Sophia, where you learn the history of Craggy Range. Then it’s on to the subterranean barrel hall, The Quarry, where you will taste from the estate’s unreleased prestige collection wines still in the barrel.

The award-winning Craggy Range Restaurant
The award-winning Craggy Range Restaurant

“From there, the tour moves on to the restaurant garden in the shadow of Te Mata peak. At the award-winning Craggy Range Restaurant, head chef Casey McDonald has devised a menu inspired by the elements and produce abundant in Hawke’s Bay. Finally, it’s on to the sun terrace to enjoy a guided tasting of Craggy Range’s diverse multi-region range, with a variety of flight options available to suit each guest’s tastes,” the citation said.

The world’s best vineyards list is based on nominations from a voting academy made up of more than 500 wine experts, sommeliers and travel correspondents from around the world. It aims to raise the profile of wine tourism and encourage travellers to enjoy wine-related experiences globally.

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Askerne Wines – February 2019

Another great evening with nice wines and an informative presenter. John Loughlin was a pleasure to deal with and kept the meeting running to time. A good level of orders resulted. But that all our tastings were as easy to organize as this one was. John says he would be more than happy to come back and has some interesting wines that we haven’t yet tried. We will keep this in mind.

The wines tasted included; Askerne Sauv Blanc / Sauv Gris / Semillon 2018 as the quaffer; followed by; Askerne Reserve Chardonnay 2016; Askerne Viognier 2018; Askerne Gewürztraminer 2016; Askerne Syrah 2015; Askerne Merlot Cab Franc Cab Sauv Malbec 2015; Askerne 2016 Cabernet Franc; rounded off with the Askerne Dessert Cabernet 2018.

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Vintage 2018 benefits from warm summer

New Zealand Winegrowers | 25 June 2018

A warm summer benefited New Zealand’s winegrowing regions, with 419,000 tonnes of grapes harvested during Vintage 2018.

This is up 6% on the 2017 tonnage but is still lower than initially anticipated in a season marked by a very early start to harvesting.

New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan says many wineries had been hoping for an even larger vintage, given 2017’s small harvest.

“However, we now expect export growth in the year ahead will be modest. It will be up to wineries to manage any product shortages from the vintage.”

In addition to prompting an early harvest, the warm summer produced fruit with good ripeness levels.

A highlight from Vintage 2018 is the increased production of red wines.
“Production of both Pinot Noir and Merlot has lifted more than 20% on last year, which will be welcomed by both wineries and consumers. These varieties were down sharply in 2017 and it is very positive to see a return to more normal production levels this year,” Mr Gregan says.

New Zealand Winegrowers is confident Vintage 2018 wines will add to New Zealand’s reputation as a premium producer of cool climate wines.

“Every vintage is different and ultimately the final test is the quality delivered in the bottle to consumers. We are certain that consumers will enjoy the benefits of the warm summer when they get to taste the wines from Vintage 2018,” Mr Gregan says.

New Zealand wine exports are currently valued at $1.71 billion, up 3% in the past year. Wine is New Zealand’s fifth largest export good.

For further information contact:

Philip Gregan
Chief Executive Officer
New Zealand Winegrowers
021 964564

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Unison Vineyard – Terry Horn – June 2018

Yet another great tasting from a Hawkes Bay winemaker. The night was cold and wet but we were well pleased with the attendance.

Terry from Unison presented a selection of their wines which the committee felt were brilliant. Terry gave a very informative talk with a great pitch.

The wines presented were well received with good orders arising from the night. Terry enjoyed the evening as did the members attending.

The wines included:

  • 2016 Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2016 Reserve Chardonnay
  • 2017 Rose
  • 2015 Rocky Red
  • 2012 Reserve Merlot
  • 2013 Classic Red
  • 2013 Syrah

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Chilled red wines and warmer white wines have more flavour

Wine is a complicated beast, but best rules to follow are: chill your reds lightly and let your whites warm a little.
Wine is a complicated beast, but best rules to follow are: chill your reds lightly and let your whites warm a little.

Thomas Heaton | January 25 2018

Kiwis are drinking their red wines too warm and our whites too cold, according to expert sommeliers.

Refrigeration leaves white too cold, and chances are red is too warm in the current summer weather.

Wellington wine bar Noblerot served its wines at a range of temperatures according to the varietal; the prime range for red wine was between 18 and 22 degrees.

Noblerot Chef Joshua Dodd with co-owner and sommelier Maciej Zimny

Co-owner and sommelier Maciej Zimny said lighter, fruitier reds, such as pinot noir, lent themselves to being chilled to the bottom of that range.

During warmer summer weather, Zimny recommended chilling red wine from up to 10 minutes before serving, which would reduce the temperature by between three and five degrees.

“When you taste the wine, at a lower temperature it seems complete,” he said.

“Even when it’s slightly colder that it should be it will provide much more pleasure.”

That’s because of the alcoholic smell was exaggerated when it was warm, which was unappetising, according sommelier at Auckland’s French Cafe, Stephanie Guth.

She said. however, the sight of a chilled red wine was odd for customers.

“You want to do it justice but it’s such a weird thing for people to see, red wine in an ice bucket, even though you know it might benefit from it,” Guth said.

Twenty minutes in an ice-bucket before opening and drinking might help to boost the flavour in a pinot noir.

“The more complex the wine you have, the warmer it should be served,” Zimny said, referring to rich red wines such as merlot or Bordeaux varietals.

Conversely white wine should be served chilled, however complex oaky chardonnays should be served slightly warmer than other whites.

So chardonnay’s flavours lent better to slightly warmer temperatures than sauvignon blanc, about 14 degrees as opposed to 10 degrees, because it was important to make sure oak flavours were prominent.

Pinot noir and chardonnay hailed from the Burgundy region of France, and both were classically stored in the same cellar under the same conditions. He said wines have either been served too warm or too cold since the invention of refrigerators.

Cellar temperature was perceived as something quite different to what was initially intended, room temperature, Guth said.

Leaving white wine to warm up slightly released flavours hidden by colder temperatures.

“It doesn’t harm the wine but you tend to get a little more out of the aromas.”

The only reason one should drink a bottle straight out of the fridge was “if you don’t want to taste your wine”, she said.

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What age can do for/to wine? – September 2017

The late Richard Gooch
The late Richard Gooch

Well our tasting for September was certainly different and a great learning experience. It’s not often you get to taste 11 wines from the period 1974 to 1996. And to help judge these wines, Wayne had organised a novel rating system that required each table to come up with a ratings that were [4] Superb -aged perfectly, [3] Still enjoyable or has interest, [2] Drinkable but dying, [1] Dead – nothing to commend it to lastly, [0] In decay – not even going to taste this.

He had also arranged for John Saker to attend the tasting and he proved to be a valuable contributor to our discussions, using his knowledge and wine judging skills to highlight things that many of us might not have considered. He particularly liked the Aussie 1990 McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon which still had some structure, fruit flavour and mouth feel.

However, it was on the decline from its probable peak 7 or 8 years ago. But still, it did show how a white wine such as a great Hunter Valley Semillon could last. Of the other 10 wines tasted, there were two 1994 wines that attracted the most support, a Leconfield Coonawara Cabernet Merlot Cabernet Franc blend and a French Cordier Sauternes. Sadly 4 of the wines were rated as a 1 or zero. Whilst the oldest of these was from 1975, there were others from the 1994-1996 period that did not measure up. The 1975 had suffered from a leaking cork and had oxidised badly whilst two of the others were white wines that in all honestly , should never had been cellared that long [because of their grape and style].

Wayne’s biggest disappointment of the night, however, was the wine that had been stored in a very large bottle dating back to 1893. The providence of this wine actually dated back to the period 1980 to 1995 and had been stored in this old bottle for later tasting. Wayne had tried to find out more about this wine from CJ Pask who was reputed to have taken it from a barrel and stored it in the bottle for Richard Gooch to taste at a later date, but Chris couldn’t recall the occasion. In any event, this wine was one to be rated a zero, having unfortunately deteriorated to such an extent that no one was prepared to suggest what it might have included, even if the suspicion was that it was once a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and maybe some Cabernet Franc, all from young vines on the Gimblett Gravels.

In conclusion, whilst this evening may have lacked a standout wine that would make the tasting memorable, it did serve to be both educational and to serve as a warning. I think most members will have gone home and looked for those forgotten wines at the back of their cupboards or cellars in order to drink them before they start their inevitable decline into mediocrity.

A special thanks to Linda Caradus, partner to the late Richard Gooch. It was her wish to give the club these very old wines so that we could use them as a learning experience and they certainly did that. It was just a shame that overseas business prevented her attending the tasting and seeing the interest that the 11 wines provided.

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Winemakers happy overall with Bay’s mixed grape harvest

By Roger Moroney | 

Rain is expected to mark a drop in overall volumes of grapes harvested this vintage.

The drought conditions of December through to mid-February had effectively “saved our bacon” in terms of how the grapes across Hawke’s Bay had weathered persistent and potentially damaging bouts of rain over the past six weeks.

However, there was likely to be a drop in overall volumes along with a drop in sugar levels and in individual cases a possible rise in the cost of harvesting, leading winemaker Rod McDonald said.

Bright, warm and dry days had seen the critical early development of grapes go extremely well, Mr McDonald said, adding that effectively created a good base for fruit protection when the rains did arrive.

“There was good early flavour development during the start of the season – they [grapes] may be down on sugars but the flavours are there.”

Location had been a factor in which vineyards saw reduced volumes, he said, although the overall drop was unlikely to be major.

Of the three vineyards which sourced Rod McDonald Wines one would be down on volumes as a result of the rain belts but the other two were actually slightly ahead of their initial estimates.

“It depends where you were to find the effects where rain hit.”

He said coastal areas like Te Awanga came through well.

“We’ve got some amazing chardonnay and perfect ripeness out of there.”

Rain often created extra costs due to stopping and starting of harvesting – “darting back and forth” – as well as the need for selected picking plans.

“But you’ve just got to suck it up.”

Mr McDonald said he was at a wine tasting in Auckland about a month ago and was asked what effect rain would have on the grape harvest and how damaging could it be.

He replied that despite Hawke’s Bay’s dry reputation everyone in the industry had a wet weather plan and were always prepared for such an eventuality.

“If you don’t then you’re dreaming.”

Part of his plan was to go with “discretion rather than valour” and carry out an earlier than usual harvest of some Syrah and Merlot so as not to put them through any more rain.

“You have to ask yourself ‘do I pull the pin now and bank it or push on through?”

But he still has some Syrah out, along with Cabernet “and they are in great shape”.

Having a damp end to the season was always a threat and simply “one of those things you have to deal with”.

Mission Estate winemaker Paul Mooney took the same stance.

“We have had a remarkable amount of rainfall over the past six or seven weeks and that is not ideal for grape growing but we have worked around it.”

Mr Mooney said there had been some grape loss.

“There have been one or two blocks we’ve had to leave.”

While volumes would be down it would not be major and he agreed with Mr MacDonald that the hot, dry start for the season had put things on the right path.

“It just hasn’t been ideal in the way it has finished,” he said.

He also agreed that while sugar levels were down flavours would still be very good.

Hawkes Bay Today

 

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