A dry finish to winter followed by a wet summer provided some difficulty with pest and disease pressure. Since 2007 we have had so many dry summers I think we all forgot how wet the Great Southern can be. Those with experience and a good up to date viticulture program were able to overcome these difficulties and produce a solid vintage of fine fruit. Again Riesling and Shiraz were stellar performers and continue to prove why they are the best known for their strengths in the great southern.
Vintage started with our Muller (12 Baume) on 20th of February. One of the earliest vintages to date. Usually the Muller comes off with the Chardonnay but the Chardonnay was nowhere near ready which was unusual.
After that we received the start of the vintage rain with a quick 20mm dumped in 15 mins. However, no damage from the rain meant business as usual and we picked our Riesling (11.5 Baume) on February 26th. Again a stellar performer proving this variety deserves to be here! We double our tonnage this year as well.
Of course the next day after our Riesling pick more thunderstorms came through and dump some rain. Finally, our Chardonnay ripened (13 Baume) and was ready to pick on March 18th. Followed by handpicking our Pinot (13.5 Baume) on March 20th
This year was the first year we used nets in the vineyard. We covered our young Shiraz blocks with them. Ironically the young shiraz is over 20 years old. The bird pressure this year was huge with no blossom on the trees to feed them and continuous rain through the months.
More rain came through around Easter March 26th and the daily temperature drop dramatically.
Early April saw the rest of our reds coming off. The Shiraz (13.5 Baume) was first on Friday the 8th. Another stellar performer, with tonnage on target and the numbers at tank almost prefect.
We were meant to pick our Cab Sauv and Merlot the following Monday but saw another 50 mm of rain instead and cancelling the pick until Wednesday 13th. The fruit looks pretty good considering the rain but that's the beauty of a Dry Grown Vineyard. With little to no surface roots there was a slow pick up of the water from recent down pour allowing us to pick the Cab Sauv and retain good fruit flavour.
To give you an idea of how much rain we have had this area has the approx. yearly rainfall of 600-700mm. In recent drier years that rainfall has been approx. 500mm. This year so far we have received almost 300 mm of rain mostly during vintage! A testing but solid vintage.