New Zealand's Hawke's Bay set for shake-up

Chris Losh

Chris Losh

15 September 2016

Hawke's Bay – the historical homeland of New Zealand's red Bordeaux varieties – could be due for a shake-up, with high-cropping Merlot vineyards replanted with Syrah according to Craggy Range winemaker Matt Stafford.

'Everyone's running long in Merlot,' he said. 'I'd expect some vineyards to be replaced, particularly the plantings off the Gimblett Gravels.'

Syrah – currently only around 20% of Hawkes Bay's vineyard area – is likely to be the main beneficiary, but Stafford doesn't rule out seeing some white varieties going in either.

'We could see them replanted with Sauvignon Blanc,' he said. 'And there’s been a resurgence in Chardonnay too.'

Kiwi Syrah has been well received by critics – and has regularly won over tasters at the Sommelier Wine Awards, too – but remains a hand-sell. 'Plantings have grown, but it's still niched,' said Stafford.

Image: Hawke's Bay

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