It’s one of the highest priced, lowest volume wines in New Zealand and it’s destined to double. It is Trinity Hill Homage, which will double in production from the 2018 vintage, a high quality year for Hawke’s Bay’s red wines.
The announcement means that Homage will be more widely available in restaurants and retail, albeit still as a niche wine.
The announcement that it would grow in volume was made at the launch of the new 2016 Homage at the winery in Hawke’s Bay, where the wine has been made since 2002 when it was priced at $105.
Today it costs approximately $135 and is on strict allocation, most of it going into restaurants, with a smidgeon in specialist wine retail.
Fine tuning the quality
The style of the wine has changed over the years and Trinity Hill Homage is, in my view, a far better wine these days.
Its biggest changes include adding whole bunch fermentation to the winemaking and removing the hefty amount of oak previously used.
Whole bunch fermentation was introduced to Homage in 2010 by winemaker Warren Gibson, who says whole bunches change the texture of tannins and how dense the wine feels in the mouth. The percentage used will always be a response to vintage. In a cool year, for example, the use of whole bunches would be minimal.
He has also intentionally and significantly reduced the hefty amount of new oak in the wine. He wants to shine the light on the fruit flavours, bringing them forward and drawing attention away from the wood used in the wine’s aging process.
History of Homage
The first vintage of Trinity Hill Homage was 2002 and the wine has been made nearly every year since then, with the exceptions of 2003, 2005 and 2008. None of these years were deemed strong enough in quality to produce the wine.
Unlike many of Hawke’s Bay’s best known, highest priced red wines, Homage is not made exclusively with grapes grown on the Gimblett Gravels, although a percentage do come from this famous sub-region.
The announcement that production of Homage would double was made this year by Philip Kingston, CEO Of Trinity Hill Wines.
While production would increase significantly, overall volumes were still destined to remain small and the wine would continue to be allocated, due to its relatively low volumes.
Growth would take place from the 2018 vintage, one of the best years in quality and a year in which vineyard investment over the past decade has finally begun to pay dividends in fruit quality and quantity.