APOGEE VINTAGE 2024 -The Weather Was Magnificent- What About the Wines?


The Weather Was Magnificent- What About the Wines?

The early forecast for the summer of 2023-4 was for an El Niño to launch and deliver a dry summer and autumn. The last time we had a true El Niño was in 2015-6, producing the excellent 2016 vintage. That season was very dry from December onwards, so before this season started, we prepared our modest irrigation system.  

And then we waited. No sign of a drought through October-November and December was as wet as normal with 83 mm, then more rain mid- January. Finally, the El Niño arrived, causing the driest February- March of a decade (except for 2016).  

This combination of adequate early summer rain followed by a dry late summer is textbook viticultural weather especially when combined with our humid ambient conditions which are a feature of our locality.

The only problem is that under these conditions ripening happens quickly so regular testing of the fruit from colour change onwards is necessary to harvest on the best day. In 2024 The starting day for sparkling, on 7th March, was the earliest start of harvest in our history.

Despite the quick ripening, the required minimum of 90 days between flowering and harvest was achieved for the sparklings and more for the table wines.

Early results are for a very high-quality year. Sparklings reached ideal composition at harvest. Base wines are showing excellent balance and finesse.

Pinot Gris fruit quality was outstanding and the Pinot Noir 2024 out of barrel is rich and

voluminous in the mouth.

The overall implication of warmer seasons and earlier harvest means that sparkling wine grapes will need careful attention to testing to ensure grapes are harvested late enough to ensure a full ripening period but early enough to have adequate acidity for sparkling. On the flip side, table wines, our Apogee Alto Pinot Noir and Apogee Alto Pinot Gris, will be easier to make. Harvesting for these at full ripeness will occur at a good time (around first week of April) in an average year.

Andrew Pirie

June 2024