Summer 2012-2013 was characterized by much higher pressures than normal over the Tasman Sea. Frequent highs produced very sunny weather and the resulting growing season was uncharacteristically dry for most of the country including Nelson. By the beginning of March the Waimea Plains were experiencing a significant water deficit. However mid to late autumn saw a number of low pressure systems and rain-bearing fronts unsettling our nerves and threatening to spoil our beautiful crop. So harvest plans were thrown into top gear and Waimea’s vineyard and winery teams put in a stoic effort to pull in our grapes in excellent condition, and in record time! The grapes for this wine came from four different vineyard sites – three on the stony alluvial soils of the Waimea Plains, and one from a Ruby Bay hill-site on the Moutere Clays. All these fruit parcels were harvested between the 26th and 28th of March 2013, with Brix levels ranging from 21.5 to 24.5.
All the fruit was harvested early in the morning and arrived at the winery icy cold, helping to preserve the vibrant fruit characters that Gewürztraminer is famous for. The grapes were gently crushed and pressed with early cuts and the press fractions kept separate, allowing us to retain fine phenolics in the juices which will later bring structure to the wine. After cold settling, the juices were racked and inoculated with European yeast strains chosen to enhance aroma and texture. The free run and pressing parcels were fermented separately and the ferments kept cool to retain freshness and the more delicate aromatics of the wine. Each ferment was stopped at the point where we felt it showed the greatest balance and expression, then each wine was matured on light yeast lees to give further texture and richness to the palate. In July, the four very different components were sniffed, tasted, scrutinised and finally blended, after which the wine was stabilised, then cross-flow filtered. Our Gewürztraminer was bottled on the 27th August 2013.