The 2004 vintage began inauspiciously. A north westerly storm in late September and early October brought strong winds and hail that battered Waiheke Island. Destiny Bay’s ridges and natural wind breaks proved worthy of the challenge and protected the young vines from serious damage.

Warm, stable weather returned in November setting the stage for fruit set. Despite unseasonably wet and humid weather in early December, vineyard staff were able to remove substandard bunches very early in the growing cycle.

Since target fruit load for this first full variety harvest were set well below one tonne per acre, there were ample bunches to permit further aggressive thinning. By late December vines had been nurtured to near optimal condition with crop loads that would support full maturation of the young, delicate fruit.

The remainder of the summer was dry and hot. Fruit achieved full physiological ripeness and flavour by late summer. Harvest began with Malbec in mid March and concluded with Cabernet Sauvignon from the Waina Motu block on 8 April.

The 2004 vintage represents an important milestone in the evolution of Destiny Bay. Not only was this the first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec, but it also was the inaugural vintage for Destiny Bay’s meticulous fruit sorting and processing line at the winery.

The 2004 Aeolus, Mystae and Magna Praemia are elegant, soft and delicately balanced wines that provide the first glimpse of the style and promise of this vineyard.

Sean Spratt