A Sodden Spring
For the first time in many years, we started out the growing season with a full soil moisture profile thanks to prolific winter and early autumn rains. The vines went crazy in the spring with substantial vigour, big canopies and lots of fruit. From November until well after veraison, we had our work cut out. ‘
First off, we had to spray with Copper and Sulphur, then desuckering and mowing with extensive shoot thinning in December and even more extensive bunch thinning around veraison. I estimate we removed at least 40 % of the Shiraz and Cabernet in order to concentrate ripening and improve the fruit still on the vines.
After the rains subsided, the dry heat came with January and February having only two or three days where the maximum temperature was below 30 degrees. Aside from one good downpour in January, the rain was nonexistent during this period.
Ideal conditions, until the rain returned.
We picked our first grapes on 16 February (Chardonnay for Sparkling Wine) and picked all the whites and a first picking of Shiraz before some major rains came around the 20th of March. This delayed the rest of the harvest by about 3 weeks, the first picking of Shiraz was on the 15th of March and the second picking was on 10th of April. The last of the grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon from Mount Panorama Estate) were picked on 12 April. It felt like a long vintage but in reality it was less than 8 weeks from beginning to end.
My early thoughts about this vintage are positive…it is another good to excellent vintage. I am most excited about the Chardonnay from our home vineyard (Bella Luna) and the early picked Shiraz from the Mount Panorama Estate vineyard.