It’s the most nerve-wracking yet exciting time of the year for the Delta Wine Co team as harvest 2019 kicks off!
This year, our harvest has begun around 10 days earlier than average. The long hot spells experienced throughout January and February have been in stark contrast to the unusually wet and cold weather Marlborough experienced during 2017 and 2018 vintages. So our gorgeous grapes have ripened faster and sooner than typically expected.
The Delta vineyard Pinot Noir vines were looking strong and healthy, despite drought like conditions in Marlborough’s Southern Valleys throughout February. Our gorgeous little Pinot Noir berries are slightly smaller than normal, which means we would expect flavours to be incredibly rich and concentrated and overall volume of wine produced to be lower.
What Happens to The Grapes?
For our favourite little Pinot Noir grapes, we hand-pick the best looking bunches, and then machine harvest the rows shortly afterwards. Hand picking means we can select full bunches (including the stems) which add depth and complexity to our wines. Our winemaker Heather advises that it’s a fine line using whole bunches though, as you don’t want to extract too many green or “stemmy” like notes from the grapes. It's all about the balance!
The fruit then arrives at our Marlborough winery where we allow it to cold soak for a few days- this helps to extract the colour from those dainty Pinot Noir skins prior to fermentation.
In this instance, our first Pinot Noir batch of the season has been particularly tiny, so we've utilised our small batch fermentation bins to get up close and personal with these berries...
The winemaking process has now begun! Over the next few weeks, Heather will carefully monitor the process, and gradually move the wine into selected French oak barriques for further development and maturation...
In the meantime, why not indulge in your very own Delta Pinot Noir experience. You can find our flagship, hand crafted Hatters Hill Pinot Noir available to purchase here.