Greener Pastures: 2014 Vintage Update

In viticulture experience counts for a lot. In a year like this it’s even more important. It’s been like no other growing season I’ve seen in 20 years; nor says Hugh, like any single vintage he’s experienced in 35 years.

2013/14 has been reminiscent of no other season. It’s perhaps an amalgam, little fragments of previous vintages stitched into a very different whole. A wet winter, a very dry spring and summer, a hot and windy week in February and then, just a day later, 60mm of rain.

When the weather pendulum swings we need to react quickly and draw on all our previous experiences. How we handle watering to deal with hot weather is probably our most important quality tool and over time we’ve learnt a lot. Delving into our collective memory allows us to act decisively at these critical times when half measures fail as badly as doing nothing at all.

The Hugh Hamilton vineyards shaped up extremely well after the unpredictable weather, thanks to Hugh and Mary’s directive to the vineyard team: grow the best fruit possible on each site.

The recent rain delivered welcome relief to the region’s vineyards at the end of a long, dry summer. It freshened things up and allowed us to leave the fruit out on the vine for another precious week or two to accumulate a little more flavour.

Wish us luck for the final few weeks of harvest, we can always do with some… but given the choice I’d bank the hard-earned experience of the Hugh Hamilton team over luck any day.

Consulting Viticulturist
Toby Bekkers

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