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Supplied by the Broke Fordwich Wine & Tourism Association
Growing season: The growing season began with a very warm to hot spring, but budburst and flowering were relatively unaffected. A November heatwave of 45°C, followed by dust storms, had an impact on fruitset, which ultimately affected yields of white varieties. Hail swept through the region on 22 December causing a reasonable amount of damage. The continued 40°C weather helped dry out most damaged fruit. Rain at the end of December and again in early January caused some botrytis in hail-affected Chardonnay. The relatively hot temperatures probably caused flavour development to be slightly behind optimum.
Vintage: The trend of earlier vintages continued again this year with some whites being picked in mid-January, but the majority of white processing began in late January as per normal. The length of vintage was more condensed than normal with whites finished early in February, and reds hot on their heels. Most whites were picked before a hot and humid period from 5-16 February. This caused rot to occur in some newer plantings of reds. Older, more established vines coped well. Most harvesting was completed by the third week of February.
Yields and quality: Yield estimates are put at 30-50% down on previous years. Low-cropping vineyards were harvested before the onset of rain, but those that were higher yielding struggled to ripen before disease set in. Verdelho and Semillon were quick to ripen and retained good acid profiles, resulting in some excellent wines. Of the reds, Merlot seems to be one of the better performers.