Well 2009 is behind us and what a year it was for a wine industry that struggled, survived, faced some unexpected realities, licked its wounds, celebrated and thrived – all in the space of 52 weeks.
What started as a big over supply problem that forced some rationalisations in the industry turned into a year of record exports (more than $1b) and a stunning 2009 vintage.
The huge volumes of 2008 wines was one of the reasons for a slight delay in the release of many 2009 wines but boy are they worth the wait; there are some outstanding wines on the shelves in time for summer drinking and one of the realities the industry had to face has had a positive benefit for you and me, the consumers.
That reality is that winemakers are now working in an environment of significantly increased quantities of wine being produced every year, not just in 2008, and in many cases that means they have had to review their pricing models to be competitive in a market where the average wine is a high quality wine.
It has almost become common to find gold medal and trophy winning wines on special for about $15 and often for less than $10. This may not be great for winemakers but you and I can drink fantastic wines everyday rather than just occasionally.
While some wines are better than others it is hard to find a poorly made wine on the shelves these days, there are so many good wines the bad ones don’t get any shelf space and that in my opinion is a good thing.
I have been saying for several months that I think the big winners this summer will be rosé wines and cider and there are some fantastic examples of both being made in this region. Redwood Cellars have a range of bright fresh and fruity ciders, from dry and crisp to fruity and luscious while the guys at the Sprig and Fern have a deceptively easy to drink monster.
On the rosé front Te Mania Wines have been producing a indulgent summer fruits treat for a number of years and have another this year. Neudorf Vineyards has a more intense, drier style while Woollaston Estates have once again delivered a rosé that is pure summer sunshine. Waimea Estates Rosé is simply strawberries and cream, delicious.
If you are lucky enough to still have a few days holiday left take some time to visit a few wineries. You can enjoy jazz at Woollaston’s, Bic Runga, Dave Dobbyn and Tim Finn at Neudorf Vineyards, a vertical tasting of gold medal and trophy winning wines at Brightwater Vineyards and savour new facilities at Te Mania Wines, Richmond Plains Wines and Golden Hills Estates. If you are in Golden Bay you have a choice of five super wineries to visit, all in spectacular locations.
Go to www.wineart.co.nz to find out more.