The Mt. Beautiful 2017 grape harvest wrapped up at the end of April. Here's a little recap including photos as well as insights from our Winemaker Sam Weaver, Assistant Winemaker Ben Weaver and Vineyard Manager Garrick Guy.
In total we harvested over 430 tonness of grapes; the large majority being Sauvignon Blanc (313T) and Pinot Noir (64T) with lesser quantities of Riesling (12T), Pinot Gris (22T) and Chardonnay (20T).
Winemaker Sam Weaver noted “Though it was a challenging vintage my view is that North Canterbury and in particular Mt. Beautiful missed the worst of the weather events. The result is that we harvested some very good fruit and there will be some very good wines from the vintage."
** Pinot Noir grapes being hand harvested.
** Pinot Noir grapes on the vine.
Sam continues " As you are aware the weather conditions during the growing season were cool which meant that ripening was late in comparison to the last two years. Towards the end of harvest, however, we picked some excellent fruit across most varieties. In some respects that later picked fruit was better than some fruit picked in 2016.
We started harvest on 31st of March with Pinot Noir and concluded harvest with Pinot Gris on the 28th of April. The most challenging variety this year for Mt. Beautiful was Riesling which we picked relatively early due to disease pressure. Nevertheless the resulting wine will be very drinkable.
We picked all blocks on the vineyard. Though there were stresses and anxieties during the vintage we came through remarkably well. Yields in Pinot Noir were significantly down but in all other varietals they were near normal."
Ben Weaver adds "The more you work in the same place the more you understand the quirks and can iron them out. It also means when you have mechanical break downs you know how to get around it and find alternatives a lot quicker. As was the case this year. The vintage crew was great. A very strong French contingent as well as Maura from the US. All very hard working and enthusiastic. Vintage is incredible hard work and long hours. It takes a special person to keep going and have a fun time doing it. They were all fantastic."
Mt. Beautiful had some firsts this season. For one, this was our first vintage with our new Vineyard Manager, Garrick Guy! We also harvested our Marle Block of Pinot Noir (planted 2013) for the first time, located east of our main vineyard and planted on a north facing slope.
Garrick comments "This block has the opportunity to bring some great flavours and complexity to our already great Mt. beautiful Pinot Noir blend.”
And lastly earlier this year we purchased a powerful new vineyard netting machine which can cover four rows of vines at a time. This proved to not only be a huge time saver but also great insurance in preserving our crop from the threat of birds.
Keep scrolling to view additional photos of the 2017 harvest with captions. More photos can be viewed in our "Vintage 2017" album here.
** Mt. Beautiful's first night pick by hand.
** Riesling tractored from the vineyard to winery in the evening.
** CEO Robert Watkins and Director of Viticulture Fin Grieve sorting grapes
** Harvest Interns Margaux and Marian (France) and Maura (US)
** Harvest Intern Francois (France)
** Mt. Beautiful's Vineyard Manager, Garrick Guy, standing in one place long enough for this photo.
** Director of Viticulture, Fin Grieve ready to roll!
** CEO Robert Watkins getting the up-high view of the new Chardonnay tanks.
** New Chardonnay tanks delivered and installed just in time for harvest!
** Fin, Sam and Robert discussing the picking schedule block by block.
**Pinot Noir, normally hand harvested at Mt. Beautiful, was machine harvested specifically for the creation of our rosé wine.
** Business Development Manager Erin Harrison taking furry friend Murphy for a ride through the vineyard to check up on things.
** Erin's dog Murphy and Garrick's dog Base having some fun!
** Sorting Pinot Noir grapes.