Here is a report on Vintage 2018 with combined insights from our Winemaker Sam Weaver and Director of Viticulture Fin Grieve.
Mt. Beautiful Winery Vintage Report 2018
Spring started very wet with 400mm of rain over September and October. Unbelievably there were no spring frosts, so the vines had an extremely good start and shoot growth was way ahead of previous seasons right from the get go.
The weather overall was warm (max 40 Celsius), interspersed with significant rain events which lead to good maturity. Growing Degree Days was at 1350, significantly up on last vintage (1230) and high for North Canterbury.
Rainfall was 1170mm, again higher than 2017 and high for the region. It was noticeably higher in Jan at 130mm and in Feb at 170mm.
Picking commenced on March 21st, ten days earlier than it had in 2017 and wrapped up April 12th. In total 533 tonnes of fruit were received into the winery, up 100 tonnes from 2017.
2018 was Mt. Beautiful's biggest vintage yet!
In terms of vintages, 2018 was a pretty easy one which ran very smoothly at Mt. Beautiful. Flowering was quite extended which was surprising given the warm weather, however, the resulting fruit set was excellent across all varieties.
The timing of the rains was such that the vineyard didn’t need to irrigate at all throughout the season, however, it also meant that the vines didn’t stop growing which created significant more hand work in the vineyard with trimming and plucking.
We experienced some disease pressure at harvest especially with our Riesling and Chardonnay. The vintage was relatively compressed, which meant that most grapes ripened at the same time. This resulted in some blocks being picked later with higher potential alcohols than we would have liked.
The winery worked exceptionally well and we were adequately staffed with our Assistant Winemaker Ben Weaver along with six interns who worked very well together. Our Vineyard Manager Garrick was also great to work with, and really helped the overall process!