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2016 Vintage Season

Summary:
The strong El Nino produced more cool south and southwest weather than normal in the spring and early summer. Fortunately the weather was fine during flowering and fruit set was good. The cool spring meant bunches were a little smaller than recent years, which is not a bad thing. In February the heat really picked up producing our hottest February ever and was just what was needed to keep the season on track. March and April were ideal for ripening grapes. The quality of fruit picked was excellent and volume was right on target.

Overall the season will be remembered for the cooler than normal spring and the particularly warm February plus the persistent winds, the extra low rainfall and the high number of frosts.

Looking back over the season in detail:

Winter was dry and cool. July was the coolest July for years.

First buds opened on the hill blocks on 10 October, slightly later than the last two years.

October. Warmer than average due to westerly winds coming down from inland Australia.The last week of October brought fresh snow on the hills and frosts on 30 and 31 October.

November. A month of two halves. The first three weeks saw more frosts and lower temperatures overall than is normal. Regular southerly fronts and snow on the hills increased the frost risk. Four frosts this month on 5th, 13th, 16th and 19th. We have avoided frost damage although there have been some vineyards less fortunate. The last week of November saw average daily temperatures jump 3-4 degrees and provided a much needed boost to vine growth.

December. The warm weather and growth continued for the first five days of December but just as things were getting going the weather turned back to the south and temperatures dropped. Overnight temperatures dropped to 2 and 1 degrees on 6 and 9 December respectively. The weather then went back to warmer northwesterlies but only briefly until swinging back to the southwest and cooler weather. December was a rollercoaster with big swings in temperatures and more than enough wind plus a frost on 23 December. Overall total heat was average but this hides the unsettled weather.

January is typically the warmest month of the year but wind, cold snaps and a frost on the 4th all slowed the month down and overall heat was well below average. Vine growth was less vigorous than in past years.

February was fortunately the opposite of January and was the hottest February we have experienced. February was significantly warmer than January which is not the norm. This helped progress berry development which was a little delayed this year.

March progressed well with adequate heat and minimal rain. There were four nights (1st, 12th, 17th & 31st) when temperatures dropped below zero degrees but we avoided any damage to the canopy

April weather was ideal for ripening grapes with warm days and cool nights. Larger diurnal temperatures ranges than we have seen since 2013 vintage. No severe frosts, no rain and nice clean fruit made harvest a joy for pickers. All fruit was harvested by hand from 12 to 18 April.
Harvest 15 April 2016

Harvest 15 April 2016
The same vine on 12 Feb and 9 Mar (4 weeks later). Bunch weight increase about 50%

The same vine on 12 Feb and 9 Mar (4 weeks later). Bunch weight increase about 50%
10 October on hill
10 October on hill

Fighting frost with sprinklers 5 Nov
Fighting frost with sprinklers 5 Nov

Precocious flowers 3 Dec
Precocious flowers 3 Dec

These two images taken 11 Feb show the effect of cooler temperatures during flowering
These two images taken 11 Feb show the effect of cooler temperatures during flowering