2016 Vintage Report: The Big Dry

Growing season (Oct-Apr) data:

Rainfall (mm)

Season 15-16 14-15 13-14 12-13 11-12 10-11 09-10 08-09 07-08 06-07 05-06
October 26 35 105 69 110 40 63 70 88 126 67
November 21 55 67 33 87 29 53 11 28 61 18
December 31 29 36 82 113 25 49 91 74 60 41
January 70 3 48 43 76 76 114 7 16 31 24
February 17 36 23 69 36 11 17 121 29 10 37
March 19 41 71 95 111 85 45 35 39 44 67
April 48 84 172 35 70 103 7 37 98 43 61
Totals 232 283 522 426 603 369 348 372 372 375 315

 Growing Degree Days (heat units)

Season 15-16 14-15 13-14 12-13 11-12 10-11 09-10 08-09 07-08 06-07 05-06
October 85 75 100 75 85 63 86 102 112 113 113
November 118 117 152 88 120 166 146 186 176 181 156
December 187 190 225 232 189 268 220 247 241 169 280
January 264 255 191 230 210 262 266 290 324 274 290
February 299 187 204 186 165 254 264 244 255 223 234
March 221 199 145 175 140 180 215 163 233 260 171
April 106 125 123 119 79 67 141 100 127 108 151
Totals 1280 1148 1140 1105 988 1259 1338 1332 1396 1328 1395

After the small 2015 vintage we were hoping for a bounce-back to more normal yields in 2016. Frost was an issue again in Spring but the wind machines proved their worth and we sustained minor damage but only in our Pirinoa Block.

Temperatures in the first half of the season were typical with not much wind. Flowering proceeded in benign conditions with a high proportion of flowers setting fruit, suggesting that a good crop was likely.

Rainfall was even lower than the dry 2015 making 2016 the driest growing season we’ve had in our 28 years of growing grapes! Coupling drought with the warmer than average temperatures of January to March meant that irrigation was absolutely essential to maintain a healthy vine canopy capable of ripening the crop. The 40mm of rain we received at the beginning of April was welcomed as much by grape growers as it was by farmers, setting us up nicely for vintage.

April saw the onset of harvest and cooler temperatures. Harvest proceeded without weather  or disease pressure and a generous, high quality crop was received by the winery. Across the  varieties, ripeness, flavour and balance were impeccable continuing a remarkable sequence of high quality vintages.

Here are the average harvest parameters for each variety:

Variety Brix pH  Acidity (g/l) Yield (t/ha)
Chardonnay 22.5 3.4 6 8.4
Pinot Noir 24.5 3.5 7 6.7
Riesling 21 3.2 7.7 7.8
S.Blanc 22 3 7.3 11.6

Roger Parkinson

August 2016

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