Grasshopper Rock Pinot Noir 2017 750ml
2017 was the coolest vintage for at least 15 years.
The unusually warm September was followed by a good October and then a period of below average temperatures through until late February. Fortunately flowering was good but the cooler weather during berry development meant bunch sizes were below average. 90 gram average bunch weight which is the lowest since 2007 and 2010 vintages. Picking started on 8 April which was surprisingly early. 2017 season seems to have favoured Alexandra which ripened earlier than sub-regions to the west. Fruit quality was excellent.
27 September 2016 marked the start of season with budburst on hill block 2. At least 10 days earlier than last year which was one of our cooler winters. The mean temperature for Sep 2016 was 9.6 deg C. versus 7.2 deg for Sep 2015 so it was a noticeably warmer start to the season.
October was average in terms of both heat and frosts. Temperatures dropped to around zero on 10, 15, 30 and 31 October but did not cause problems.
November temperatures started normal but many cool days in the second half of the month meant the month was cooler than average. Winds were significantly less than last year and shoot and inflorescence growth was good and ahead of last year.
December continued on from November with cooler than average temperatures slowing vine growth. Flowering and fruit set was completed successfully in mid December. One very light frost was recorded on 13 December without obvious damage.
January was marked by cooler average temperatures. Total heat (GDD) was 30% below our average. This period had significant impact on berry development and canopy growth.
During this period of cooler than average temperatures the sea surface temperature anomaly charts recorded temperatures 2 degrees below average.
February was a continuation of January until things started to warm up from about 18 February.
Late February and all of March provided excellent conditions for ripening fruit.
Two cyclones, Debbie and Cook, brought disturbed conditions but little rain to Otago unlike parts of NZ further north.
Hand harvest started on 8 April and finished in 15 April.