Spring brings promise and optimism to the vineyard. Subtle shifts in temperature and rainfall provide early clues to a vintage’s fate. Bud break and early growth in 2008 was uneventful. Mild conditions in late August and September yielded to scattered rain in October that proved only a minor inconvenience to staff as they prepared the vineyard for a new season.

By early November stable warm temperatures, light breeze, and below average rainfall set the stage for record fruit set. In December, high temperatures and dry conditions settled in, establishing a weather pattern that extended through February. A hot, dry summer was a welcome change from the inclement conditions in 2007. Mild water stress helped build fruit concentration while reducing vegetative growth and berry size. A welcome few days of rain in early March provided modest hydration to sustain vines through to harvest.

Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot blocks were picked in late March. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blocks were harvested by mid April. Warm days spent picking near perfect fruit contributed to a growing enthusiasm about the potential for this vintage. Few on Waiheke could recall a summer with better weather for growing grapes.

The 2008 vintage was extraordinary in both yield and fruit quality. In some years, all the credit goes to the staff in coping with every manner of challenge that soil, site and climate can offer. But in 2008, it was Mother Nature at her best.

The early tasting of 2008 wines has validated our optimism, but then again, we benefited from a stellar performance by our most important partner.

Sean Spratt
Owner & Winemaker