Our Journal

A Sauvignon surplus? News from Kim Crawford

7th February, 2014

A Sauvignon surplus? News from Kim Crawford

Over the past week or so, vineyard managers across Marlborough have been thinning the fruit on the vines. With tales of so-called shortages dominating the headlines in 2013, our friends at Kim Crawford filled us in on why they are enjoying such a surplus at this stage of the growing season. 

After the warm summer of 2012/13 there was plenty of pruning to be done, even after leaving a few extra buds for insurance. After pre-flowering it was clear that the number of bunches was much higher than average, in fact at Kim Crawford they had a few thousand more bunches per hectare than they had targeted! As a result, in late November 2013 teams went out and thinned out the shoots to reduce the yield on blocks that were obviously over target. This can be a risky strategy because if fruit set is poor, yields can fall below target but it proved to be the right decision. 

Post-fruitset in January 2014 the green bunches were weighed – a good indicator of the final harvest bunch weight – and the results were astonishing. With consistent warm temperatures and nicely spaced rainfall the season had produced bunches that in some cases were bigger than harvest-sized ones two months early! Clearly it was unrealistic to keep these enormous bunches which risk not ripening, disease, vine stress or frost damage from a late harvest so more bunch thinning was the obvious course of action. As a result, several bunches per vine have been snipped out, as shown in the photo.

The next few weeks will involve more thinning out, netting the Pinot Noir as it gains colour and monitoring for disease, especially powdery mildew which has been an issue this season.

In other news, the winery repairs are nearing completion following the earthquake that struck last year. New tanks are being fitted and the legs on existing ones have been replaced so they are well set to withstand another shake!

Finally, the romantics among you may be interested to know that the latest vintage of Pinot Noir (2013) is set to be bottled on Valentine’s Day! 

For more details please get in touch with your usual contact.