Hawke's Bay viticulturists say the region's grape harvest could be it's best yet, particularly for chardonnay.

Hawke's Bay wine ambassador Nic Olsen says the juicy grapes have been left happily basking in the sun during the 2018/19 season and although rainfall is slightly up compared to last year - it fell at the right time.

It meant this year's vintage was looking like it would be simply ideal, he said.

Hawke's Bay wine ambassador Nic Olsen says it's a bumper of a season for white wine varieties. Photo / Paul Taylor.
Hawke's Bay wine ambassador Nic Olsen says it's a bumper of a season for white wine varieties. Photo / Paul Taylor.

"Summer brought us nice, long warm days which allow great conditions for ripening and cool temperatures at night which keep the acidity high, therefore there will be a nice natural balance in the wines.


"Chardonnay was the first to start coming off, beginning for some as early as March 5, most of which went into the bubbly base for Champagne styles wines."

Olsen says both viticulturists and winemakers were feeling bubbly with the possibility of making some world class wines to showcase the Hawke's Bay region.

"Workers from all around the country and internationally flock to the bay to take part in picking some of the premium grade grapes grown here

"The working environment is vibrant and full of life, due to the awesome weather to date the grapes are clean, easy to access and quick to get off the vine."

Church Road Winery viticulturist Claire Pinker said the dry conditions were ideal for this year's harvest.

"We haven't had a dry start to the vintage for some years now, so it's a bit of a blessing really.

"The weather conditions are looking ideal for next week and it looks like it's going to hold all through our white harvest, so we're all very excited."

Pinker said there was major enthusiasm for experimentation around the chardonnay varieties.


"The grapes can be left out a lot longer than last year, so they'll be given a lot more ripening time and the flavours will be given time to develop fully.

"The longer you leave them, you get really good flavour development. It just gives us a wider range of flavours coming in and winemakers will be able to make big blockbuster wines if they want to or they'll also have the opportunity to make those lighter wines."

Pinker said they would begin harvest for red wine varieties at the end of the March.

"Again the weather is looking really good, so it's shaping up for a really good season," she said.

Viticulturlist and winemaker at Supernaturual Wine Company Hayden Penny said it was unusual for the weather to please both grape growers and farmers.

"The rain has fallen at the right time and it just seems to have pleased everyone, I'm just hoping the humidity will cease as it can cause fungal growth on the grapes, in saying that, I haven't seen any bad fruit so far.


"We haven't had a vintage like this for a really long time, it's just extremely positive for everyone and it makes for a great year in the industry."