Local growers were very pleased with conditions leading into vintage this year; moderate to hot conditions through Spring with ample rainfall gave us strong vine canopy development. Frustratingly, this above-average rainfall continued past Christmas and into the harvest period. We have always been amongst the first pickers in the region and this year was no different, as our 47 year old vineyard sits in the deep sand of an old creek-bed and retains little moisture. Both Chardonnay and Semillon were hand picked by the 21st January, with lower than average yield.
February brought a real change with stable, dry conditions; excellent for the ripening of our reds, as the sugars have had time to build slowly, gaining flavour and colour, excellent for our flagship wines such as The Kester. Throughout vintage we were very grateful of our hardworking growers, whose vineyards came through with ripe, clean bunches from across the valley, including Shiraz from vines in Pokolbin, Broke and Tawarri. All reds were picked between 13-15 beaume, and such balance allowed for straightforward, controlled ferments with a significant inclusion of whole bunches. This has built an added layer of complexity and flavour length to our Shiraz wines.
Our growers in the Hilltops & Tumbarumba regions enjoyed warm and dry conditions across the growing season, with lead-up rainfall in early February doing no harm. Fruit from this region rivalled the impressive crops we recieved in 2012 and 2013, which will give the Forres Blend in particular a bold edge.
January's strangely cool and wet conditions initially caused concern for our local harvest, however the sun's welcome return turned around the season dramatically. We have some excellent whites and reds in the winery, with potential for quality and style that we're really excited to see blossom in the coming years.