• Vintage 2023 – New Frontiers

    2023 will be a lesson in “never count your chickens before they’re hatched.” It was a season that took Te Mata to new frontiers, and one we can’t wait to share with you.


    An extreme year setting new records on multiple fronts, 2023 was the:

    • longest growing season ever (budburst to harvest +10% longer than LTA)
    • Lowest yielding (-30% on LTA)
    • Smallest berry size ever
    • 2nd Hottest
    • Wettest
    • Longest harvest period (53 days)
    • Most expensive (+50% on LTA)

    and, had a historic cyclone (Gabrielle) in mid-February thrown into the mix.

    The extraordinary conditions produced some extreme results in the wines:

    The best performers were Cabernet Sauvignon, and its associated blending partners of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, (which all had stellar results, and will produce amongst the greatest wines ever at Te Mata Estate) within the red wines, and Sauvignon Blanc amongst the whites. Syrah was also very strong. It is important to note that all of these are late varieties which were unripe and unaffected when mid-February’s cyclone hit Hawke’s Bay. In fact, the last of these were harvested in mid-April, a full two months later.

    Unsurprisingly, the most difficult wines were from the earliest ripening varieties; Pinot Noir (Te Mata Estate did not harvest a single Pinot Noir grape in 2023), with Gamay Noir and Chardonnay also impacted (yields of these down more than 50% to achieve quality).

    Spring was early, following another very mild winter, with another early budburst repeating the early starts of the recent five years (if this trend continues, we may have to re-evaluate what we consider as early). The early start can mean increased frost fighting, but this year saw only a few frosty nights and no damage from any of these. At this point, the long-term weather forecasts were indicating a warm and wet “El Nino” season, and these conditions really began to manifest in the late spring and early summer, prompting significant canopy growth. Flowering was strong, with a record number of flower clusters suggesting a high-yielding harvest.  We responded by increasing planting of inter-row crops to extract soil moisture, opened up the vine canopies to the maximum extent with extensive shoot removal and full leaf plucking.

    The overcast, humid conditions continued, so in late December we took extreme action; severely reducing yield, mechanically shaking all vines, and dramatically increasing spraying. It was an enormous workload, but these vineyard interventions had a tremendous impact on the final fruit quality. Together with the weather conditions, they dramatically constrained berry development leading to very small grapes with thick skins, assisting to withstand disease and splitting. This was vitally important as February brought record rainfall with Gabrielle and two other notable rain events. Thankfully, the main cyclone impact was north of us and, with all our vineyards being on higher, free-draining ground, we sustained little direct damage.


    Harvest commenced in the last week of February, beginning in tricky circumstances as the early varieties had varying degrees of condition requiring very strict selection and careful handling. Thankfully the weather had cleared and held dry, fine and steady throughout the entirety of the two-month harvest period. Once the earliest harvests were over, the remaining varieties reaped the full benefit of the sustained fine autumn weather – hanging on and on towards full ripeness in clear, warm autumn sunlight.

    The resulting wines are quite remarkable. Cabernet Sauvignon is the undoubted star of the vintage with intense concentration, bright ink-black colours, huge extract, beautiful ripeness (generally 24 brix), and great length. Merlot and Cabernet Franc are likewise brilliant. These will produce amazing blends. The Sauvignon Blancs are amongst the finest ever at Te Mata, and the Syrahs are likewise showing very strong. These wines will astound, and especially so considering the generally poor expectations of a growing season that was written-off before the first grapes were even picked.

    2023 will be a lesson in “never count your chickens before they’re hatched.” It was a season that took Te Mata to new frontiers, and one we can’t wait to share with you.


    Download the Technical Report from Te Mata Estate here.

  • Vintage 2022 – Experience Reaped Rewards

    A memorable, incredibly early vintage, with significant highlights and some challenging moments. It resulted in wines with great varietal expression, restraint, tension, power, and length.



    Winter – Spring
    Winter was warm and dry. This led to an early bud burst and the earliest veraison in the last 30 years.


    Summer – Autumn
    Early summer we experienced a healthy amount of rain giving fully saturated soils, which lead to strong vine growth and full canopies for ripening. Then over two months a rapid accumulation of
    Growing Degree Days (GDD), with a record number of days above 30 degrees Celsius, lead to a record high GDD for this time of year. Vine stress came in mid-late summer – at a critical time of the season – to produce small berries with balanced canopies. Despite a rain event just before harvest and another late season with only a few blocks left to pick, we were able to pick quality fruit. This coupled with a huge amount of early vineyard work and the employment of some new viticultural practices, created the foundation to make to make some great wines.


    Logistically, it was a challenging harvest working around Covid regulations and team health. Except for a few blocks at the start of the harvest (which showed signs of being fragile and needed to be
    picked earlier than normal), fruit condition this year looked very good. Walking the vineyards daily, sampling, visualizing, and tasting was paramount.

    Nature can be capricious; however, it is precisely the succession of vintages – each so different and unique – that gives Hawke’s Bay and Te Mata’s wines their interest.

    The whites are balanced with intense varietal expression, natural acidity, and length.

    The reds are also balanced, from the scented notes and moreish acidity of Gamay Noir through to Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the highlights of the vintage, so noble with pedigree, both fine and
    dense at the same time; they are deeply coloured with great varietal complexity, acidity, and tannins. We are excited about the assemblage tastings to come.


    Conclusions and notes of significance
    • Exceptionally early bud burst.
    • The earliest veraison of reds I can recall.
    • A huge amount of work done in the vineyard prior to the New Year, by hand and with
    our new tractor herd.
    • Small berries from low crops.
    • Coordination of up to five handpicking teams.
    • A challenging harvest with two large rain events leading to some early picks from fragile
    • Heat and record GDD’s before harvest at a critical time.
    • The use of two hand-harvested processing lines.
    • The R&D work done over the last number of years in the vineyards and winery, literally
    coming to fruition.
    • And, yet again, the importance of:
    o estate-owned vineyards and setting our own standards for quality.
    o geographic spread with multiple varieties across four Hawke’s Bay sub-regions.
    o experienced personnel in both the vineyard and winery.


    Download the Technical Report from Te Mata’s Senior Winemaker Phil Brodie here…

  • Rare Coleraine Vertical Donated to Charity

    Hawke’s Bay wine auction donated rare set of Te Mata Coleraine

    As published in NZ Herald, September 2022:


    A “remarkable” 26-bottle set of Te Mata Estate Coleraine vintage wines will go under the hammer at the 30th Hawke’s Bay Wine Auction.

    The in-person event is being held on September 17 at Toitoi HB Arts and Events Centre and includes bespoke, one-off wines from some of the most prestigious wineries in Hawke’s Bay, collaborations between winemakers, luxury accommodation and restaurants, and a travel package.

    The auction also has a feature art piece, which this year is by John Lancashire.

    One of the biggest draws is set to be a 26 vintage vertical of Te Mata Estate Coleraine, which has been generously contributed by sponsors Isaacs Plumbing, Pumping and Electrical.

    This Te Mata Coleraine vertical of 26 vintages covers the span of 1994 to 2020 (minus non-producing 2012).

    Since the release of the first vintage in 1982, Te Mata Coleraine has established itself as one of New Zealand’s greatest red wines, its annual release always selling out.

    In March 2021, a single 750ml bottle of Te Mata Coleraine sold for more than $1000, a new record for any NZ wine at a commercial auction.

  • Bob Campbell MW – Bullnose ’20

    98 points. Deep, purple-tinted syrah with a wonderfully fine-grained, perfectly-pitched texture. Flavours include cassis, plum, dark berries, anise, black pepper, floral and red rose together with spicy oak. A very impressive wine

    Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review, January 2022
  • Huon Hooke – Coleraine ’20

    Very deep, bold, bright purple/red colour, the aromas similarly impressive for their concentration and vibrancy. The wine is super-concentrated and loaded with drying, savoury tannins that add a smidgin of bitterness that helps cleanse the aftertaste, which is formidably long. A sensational cabernet blend, gorgeously flavoured and perfumed, profound and lingering. It has the intensity and structure to age long-term. The patient will be handsomely rewarded.

    Huon Hooke, The Real Review, December 2021
  • Veraison is Here!

    Glorious Summer days on our Hawke’s Bay Vineyards. Veraison, leaf plucking and bird netting are keeping our team very busy.

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