Matakana’s new vintages

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Winemaking in Matakana can be traced all the way back to before World War II, but it's only since the 1980s that wine in the area began to be produced commercially. These days there are around 26 vineyards producing some seriously good wines from an extremely diverse range of grapes, and there's an estimated 80 hectares of vines around the region.Over the last few weeks, as is usual once the wines from the vintage finish fermenting, the local winemakers get together for a tasting session. Richard Robson is an experienced winemaker who works for Matakana Estate, Matavino, Coxhead Creek, The Gabion and Tramcar Bay. He tells us a little about this private annual session.

“In the wine industry, there is a very real focus on cooperation among wineries from a particular region. There is always a certain degree of diversity of styles among different winemakers and also characteristics between vineyards. Underlying that is the character of the region that is there in all its wines. Vineyards don’t need to compete with each other because most have something unique, so by banding together, we all keep an eye on quality and promote the region together.

“Our biannual group tastings help us to discuss the personality of the vintage, and its effects on the many varieties of grapes we grow up here. From this, we identify the main characteristics of each vintage in terms of taste and flavours; issues in the vineyard and winemaking process that may need tweaking; what grape varieties have done well in that vintage, and finally how it relates to previous vintages.”

All the vintners benefit from others tasting their wines. It helps to fine-tune the current vintage, prepares the group for the years ahead, and generally works for the betterment of the whole region – and of course, those who drink the glorious stuff. Cheers!