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Start button ready for 2008

Its hardly something you would want to place bets at this early stage, but it is definitely looking like Gisborne is in for another successful vintage.

Despite some cooler temperatures in the spring that has meant mixed berry set for the early varieties, the rest of the crops are in good shape.

With the first of the Riechtensteiner in last week for crushing at GisVin Limited, the bulk of production will begin in two weeks time.

Pernod Ricard’s regional viticulture manager, Warwick Bruce, is pleased with the quality of the fruit out there and there is some disease pressure, with a bird pressure isolated to certain areas on the flats. Pernod Ricard expect to process about 13–14,000MT for the 2008 vintage.

Bruce says vintage timing is about a normal timeframe with early varieties looking promising and the yields in the average to below average category.

The vintage results are always so reliant on the weather, therefore the weather during the next two months will have an impact on the outcome. Gisborne has fortunately missed several of the tropical depressions coming through to date.

The industry will see a marked increase with Pinot Gris and Viognier crops, many coming through to their third growing year. For Gisborne this is where there seems to be a greater interest in the aromatics and the quality product that is coming from the region. Pernod Ricard are a key player in the increase of the region’s aromatics and they will be working with new blocks of Arneis to add to their portfolio from Gisborne

Even though there is work being done on tanks at Pernod Ricard from the earthquake, the winery will be able to process the 2008 vintage crop. Two additional new bag presses are in place to enable all fruit to be processed through them. Head winemaker, Steve Voysey is confident this will further improve the sparkling wines.

Despite the smaller fruit set, flavour will be more intense due to the large numbers of small berries in the bunches. “Its something we have not seen for while so looking forward to what we call a “winemakers’s crop” particularly in the Chardonnay Mendoza clone”, says Voysey.

In the vineyard, grape grower Paul Tietjen said the crops are looking good, but the continuation of odd patches of rain like that in the past few weeks can influence botrytis and bird pressure. “All in all, we look like we could be in for another year like 2007”, says Tietjen.

That’s reiterated byJohn Clarke, president of Gisborne Winegrowers. “Its going to another good year as far as quality goes,” he says. “Some varieties will be lighter in yield but of real interest , is the greater volume of aromatics being processed in Gisborne this year.”



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