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2015 Vintage: Wet and Wild


The uniqueness of each vintage is defined by mother nature, some years are directed by her. 2015 is well on its way to becoming one of the top 3 rainiest years in Ulupalakua history dating back to 1925. In years with such atypical conditions grape growers, every decision is affected. It will influence everything including harvest timing and vine management choices, and as a result, determine the personality of that year’s wines… and that’s the beauty of it!

With all the rain at the beginning of the year, we ended up with a strong start and a really consistent bud break. But as those of you who live in Maui know, or those who visited over the last 9 months know, the rain never really stopped. With such an abundance of moisture, the vines were very happy and eager to grow. The challenge became organizing and directing the vines to focus that energy in the right place at the right time.

Towards the end of the growth cycle you want every bit of focus to be on fruit development, this is where a stressful environment suits wine grapes well. The more stressed the vines are the more focused they are on making their fruit as mature and attractive as possible as to spread its seed and preserve life. So with all this energy and low stress, getting the vines to focus on the fruit vs just growing green takes a great deal of effort and attention.

Then there’s the big fear of rain close or during harvest, we got lucky here with timing, considering the swarm of tropical storms and hurricanes the were strewn about the Pacific. We were able to protect the fruit and make sure it came into the winery mature and healthy. Overall the year was full of unique challenges, as it is almost every year, but we got through it fairly unscathed.

Coming full circle, the variation aspect in wine is what makes it special. Each year is different and the resulting wines reflect that. You make decisions as a grape grower and winemaker to support making the best wine possible for that year and make absolutely certain that it accurately displays the growing conditions of that year. That’s how we look at winegrowing in Ulupalakua Vineyards.

What will be of this year’s fruit?

Well… we’re making a lot of rosé, 2014 was only about 105 cases mostly Grenache, it came and went within a few short months. With all the rain we chose to bring some fruit in early to protect it, and in 2015 we brought a lot of Syrah into the mix and we should have around 400 cases make the final cut. Syrah will bring a little spice and meatiness to the super fruity Grenache. Pink wine is all the rage!!!
Malbec did quite well again this year and we’re looking at a very typical heavy, rich and coating wine but with a really promising backbone of acidity to carry it across the palate because of all the acidity that we were able to maintain this year.
Grenache is gonna be a funky (in a good way) little light skinned grape wine, really bright and food friendly, a good sunshine red wine which is hard to find.
Chenin Blanc is gonna be excitable for those of you acid heads out there who look for crisp ripping acidity in their white wines.

2 thoughts on “2015 Vintage: Wet and Wild

  1. Chuck Hundley / Tricycle cellars says:

    So excited for you guys !living here in Walla Walla Washington and having gone through The viticulture an enology program at the community college it’s so exciting to see you make wine with all the challenges on the island. My wife and I’ve been to your tasting room but it’s been way too long since we’ve visited best of luck this year Chuck

  2. On our recent trip to Maui we paid a visit to “the winery.” My wife and I were blown away by the quality of your wine right across the board. As a wine importer back in the 90s I have visited hundreds of wineries and yours is a world class experience. Mauiwine is a must visit when on the island.

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