If ever you meet a winemaker and you’re stuck for conversation, just talk about the weather. This year there was plenty for winemakers right across the country to talk about. April 13th was unlucky for some as Cyclone Cook – the worst storm since the Wahine disaster – poured cold water on some vintners harvest plans.
Fortunately, having its own harvester means Marlborough’s Lawson’s Dry Hills is autonomous and not dependent on the availability of contractors. This gives the team greater freedom to harvest when the fruit reaches optimum ripeness and before the weather deteriorates. Sadly the harvests of many other Marlborough vineyards were less successful while some even left their fruit to rot on the vine.
As General Manager Sion Barnsley recounted, “While the grapes were picked with lower brix (sugar levels) this year, concentration and flavour were good.” Achieving a good harvest even in challenging years is very much the result of good vineyard management, as Lawson’s Dry Hills vines are low yielding, producing fruit off two canes rather than four canes as is the practice in many local vineyards. This concentrates more flavour into fewer bunches and also helps the vine to ripen the fruit sooner. Quality-focussed practices like this have ensured that, despite the challenges of inclement weather, 2017 has been a successful vintage.
Proof of the quality is already coming in for all the Lawson’s Dry Hills brands, with successes in a range of wine shows both here and internationally.
Our ‘Mount Vernon’ Sauvignon Blanc 2017 has already won a gold medal at each of the following:
- NZ International Wine Show 2017
- Marlborough Wine Show, 2017
- New World Wine Awards 2017
- Air NZ Wine Awards 2017
- Sydney International Wine Competition 2018
And runner up in Winestate’s ‘Wine of the Year’ Competition coming second out of all Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand and Australia in 2017.
And it hasn’t been only Mount Vernon that has been stealing the limelight, other Lawsons’ Dry Hills brands and varietals from the past two vintages have done well this year.
|Lawson’s Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2017||Silver Medal||Air NZ Wine Awards|
|Gold Medal||New World Wine Awards|
|Blue Gold Medal||Sydney International Wine Competition|
|Lawsons’ Dry Hills Gewürztraminer 2016||Trophy – Champion Gewurztraminer||Marlborough Wine Show|
|Trophy – Champion Gewurztraminer||Air NZ Wine Awards|
|Gold Medal||Air NZ Wine Awards|
|Gold Medal||NZ International Wine Show|
|Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2016||Five Stars and No.1||Cuisine Magazine #186 (out December 2017)|
|Lawson’s Dry Hills Chardonnay 2016||Silver Medal||NZ International Wine Show|
|Lawson’s Dry Hills Riesling 2015||Trophy – Best Aromatic Wine||Sydney International Wine Competition|
|Trophy – Best Dry White Table Wine||Sydney International Wine Competition|
|Gold Medal||International Wine Challenge|
|Lawson’s Dry Hills Pinot Gris 2016||Gold Medal||New World Wine Awards|
|Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve Pinot Noir 2015||Gold Medal||New World Wine Awards|
|Blind River Sauvignon Blanc 2016||Double Gold Medal||Six Nations Wine Challenge|
|Blind River Sauvignon Blanc 2017||Blue Gold Medal||Sydney International Wine Competition|
Looking to the 2018 vintage, Marlborough was less affected by the wintery blast which hit the southern areas of New Zealand’s South Island in early November 2017. Central Otago shivered under a blanket of frost and ski fields enjoyed fresh cover while gale force winds hit Wellington and threatened sailings of the Cook Strait ferries. Luckily, Marlborough temperatures stayed just above zero keeping the frost fans silent. Now as summer begins, that late wintery blast has been replaced by a warmer than usual December setting up the expectation for an exciting 2018 harvest. Stay tuned.