We asked Andrew Hull, The Landing’s viticulturist, to talk us through vineyard news and progress over the last months, and share what happens next.
We have enjoyed a warm and dry summer at The Landing with just 56mm of rainfall in January (compared to 200mm in January 2016). In February, the initial dry and warm weather was replaced by a slow-moving front, which delivered 99% relative humidity for 36 hours continuously from 15 February.
March revealed an interesting rainfall stat – we have our own weather station on the vineyard and it was interesting to note that in early March The Landing received 12.8mm of rain, whereas Kerikeri airport (only thirty minutes drive away) recorded 74mm over the same two-day period. I think this shows what a special micro-climate we are in and why wine-growing in our pocket of Northland is different.
With two students assisting us for the summer, we have continued to raise the vines planted last spring with vine training, and we have been watering each vine from a water tank at least once a week. On the cropping vines, the team has worked on the vine shoots and bunches, removing excess leaves to keep the vines healthy and preparing the vines to be covered with bird netting to protect the fruit from birds.
With the first-cropping blocks of Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Montepulciano, Sangiovese and Syrah to look after, the area covered by bird netting has increased from two hectares to eight hectares this year.
Keith, Andrew and Sophia attended the “Little Vineyards of Kerikeri” festival in February on behalf of The Landing Wines. It was a very hot day and the Rosé 2016 was a very popular choice. Our stand was next to the stage, where they had great music playing. Overall the event was very successful and many people from Kerikeri and out of town enjoyed our wines and The Landing story.
The onset of autumn means preparations for harvest, and picking, which began in February.
Our first ever crop of Pinot Gris was harvested on the 21st of February and the Chardonnay pick took place between the 3rd and the 6th of March.
The red wine grapes are still on the vine, with harvesting of these anticipated for late March and early April. We will then wind up and store all the bird nets, prune the vines and maintain and repair all the machinery and the vineyard trellis, ready for another vintage next year.