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A reason to toast 2020!

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Tom Belford27 May 2020

One thing’s for sure … 2020 will go down in all our record books as one to remember – perhaps THE one, for many.

And while unfortunately 2020 will be associated with plenty of bad news, hopefully there’s good news to come also.

In fact, the good news has already arrived for Hawke’s Bay winemakers.

A recent press release from the HB Winegrowers Association announced:

“The start of a new decade in Hawke’s Bay brings momentous promise this vintage … With a hot and dry season, the entire region basked in optimum sunshine hours this summer, from the inland alluvial plains all the way to the coast, blessing Hawke’s Bay’s winemakers with pristine-condition fruit.”

Julian Grounds, Chief Winemaker at Craggy Range Vineyards, commented: “In your winemaking lifetime, the law of averages very rarely gives you two iconic vintages back to back. But that is what they will write of 2019 and 2020.”

BayBuzz asked Nick Buck, chief executive of Te Mata Estate, a perennial producer of some of HB’s best, what all the fuss is about.

Says Nick: “’18, ’19, and ’20 have been amazing. We thought ’19 was amongst the best vintages we’ve seen, then along came ’20, and we’re blown away by the quality. The ‘20s are the most concentrated wines we’ve seen in the 46 years my family’s run Te Mata. It’s hard to pick a stand out variety as the quality is so strong across the board.”

Locally, online sales have held up for Te Mata Estate during the Covid window. “Te Mata always has strong direct sales as a lot of people prefer to deal directly for their fine wines. But, we’ve seen a huge upswing over the lockdown period. It’s been fantastic to see all the local support, and we’ve been thrilled to be able respond to that, getting great wine direct to people’s homes and businesses. My brother Toby’s doing a lot of the Hawke’s Bay deliveries and enjoying the chance to help people out.”

Te Mata Estate has always done well overseas, especially in Australia, the UK and China, and we asked about that. Nick commented:

“The quality from the spectacular run of great vintages — ’18, ’19 and now ’20 — means that we’ve got the best wines we’ve ever made to take to market. NZ wine exports have remained very strong through lockdown, but we’re seeing marked buying shifts with booming retail alongside very suppressed hospitality. It’s impossible to say how deep and long these effects will be.”

So, challenges, yes. But it sounds like quality will prevail. Great news from HB wine country … hopefully the first of many good reasons to raise a glass to 2020!

If you have another good reason to toast 2020, send it along to: editors@baybuzz.co.nz

Tom Belford27 May 2020

One response to “A reason to toast 2020!”

  1. Kim Tobeck says:

    Hawkes Bay grapes all the way hawkes Bay girl who loves her hawkes Bay grapes every time I buy them I put them I wash them under the cold water then put them into the fridge pull them out the next morning yummy and refreshing

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