2024 Marlborough Vintage Report

Winery and harvest team, Clos Henri, Marlborough vintage 2024

We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to experience the best that Marlborough has to offer this season. The growing period was blessed with the ideal level of warmth, followed by a cooler season during veraison. As a result, a slow and consistent ripening process took place, which allowed for the gentle development of the vine's physiological parameters. These perfect conditions enabled finesse, age-ability, and refinement in our fruit to be achieved.“

The Growing Season

Overall, the 2023/2024 season was quite different from our previous two vintages. We could not, however, complain that meteorological predictions were not correct this year. It was anticipated that the arrival of El Nino would impact the season immensely - this was to be true.  The winter of 2023 brought significantly lower rainfall than in previous years.

Typically, we benefit from solid rainfall during winter to ensure that we can last the growing season with no need to irrigate. However, this year we did not have enough and from the beginning of Spring, we could tell that a water deficit would be a real concern for our harvest. While our early spring months had some rain, we had on average about 20mm per month lower than our long-term average. This soon also dried up and between December to April, we had the lowest rainfall observed in over 93 years. Overall, we received only 161 mm of rain over 6 months – almost 200 mm lower than our long-term average!

Fortunately, our vineyard, which was established in high density and with minimal irrigation from early on, displayed an amazing resilience to the vagaries of the season this year. This, coupled with great spring weather, our fruit set and flowering was balanced, and we saw healthy shoot development, just as El Nino conditions settled in fully mid-summer and Marlborough entered a drought. There was much talk in the Wairau Valley that there may be an earlier harvest for us all, given the warm and dry conditions. But in true Clos Henri style, our vines lead the charge at their pace, and with bunch closure at the end of January, we could immediately tell that an early season was not on the cards for us.

Quite the opposite.

We will remember the 2024 harvest as being one of our most serene. With continued heat and stability of weather conditions, incredible quality began developing towards March with our judicious irrigation, low disease pressure and sustained bird control.  By harvest, the vines were working on conserving their water intake to the point where our berry sizes were tiny. Ultimately, we are certain that this helped contribute to intense concentration and flavour development.

Over the last 20 years, we have seen an incredible settling of our vineyard’s character – each parcel in each terroir has amplified its expression and is immensely resilient to the changing seasons. In drought seasons such as 2024,  the sponge-like clay soils enjoyed a degree of consistency of water supply, while the stones have found themselves in a greater water deficit and we were required to play the game of patience in this terroir. As such, we began harvesting the Clay Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, while waiting for the autumnal dew and anticipated rain to replenish the stone terroirs to achieve full ripeness, as they were developing slower. Overall, it was interesting to note that despite the small area of our estate, the 2024 harvest spanned 1 month (the first Sauvignon Blanc arrived to the winery on March 20th, with the final parcel arriving on April 19th). We feel that this truly highlights the diversity of our terroir and the influence this has.


To fully appreciate the nuances between terroirs, each parcel is kept separate from the others. This allows us to independently assess their sensory characteristics and then select the best components for each wine. This is a time-consuming method, however it ensures the consistency and focus of each terroir is maintained through each varying vintage.  As these wines have now finished their ferment in the winery, we are beginning to note their individuality. Comprising of roughly 45% of our vineyard, the Otira Glacial Stones terroir offers a powerful minerality and zesty, fruity flavor profile to Sauvignon Blanc. This special soil has been planted in 95% Sauvignon Blanc, with 5% Pinot Noir. In 2024, there is a notion of tension and structure, coupled with an intensity and richness which balance wonderfully with a bright peach and ripe citrus flavour.

This year, our Waimaunga Windblown Clays Clays ripened faster than the Otira Stones. The terroir is spread across the terraces on the valley floor and some beautifully elevated parcels located on the hills above the Chapel. Here, the combination of aspect, water-retentive soil and all-day-long sunshine, we were able to achieve complete phenolic ripeness with our Pinot Noir early on in the growing season. There is a notable elegance and florality in the clay wines from 2024, with an intense, yet restrained density that promises to deliver some incredible structure as the wines age.

Overall, this year we also felt the luxury of picking as and when we wished. Happening very rarely, we were thrilled this year when the weather conditions proved to be ideal - even better in fact, was the onset of Autumn, with its brisk cold nights and long hot, sunny days. Collectively felt by the team and across the region, the 4th of February offered a 4-degree night and 30-degree day - a perfect illustration of the diurnal variation that Marlborough is so well known for. Conditions that bring definite focus, tension and a brightness to the wines with beautifully balanced acids complementing those ripe, juicy tones.


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