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Most vineyards in the Perth Hills region reported increased tonnages — up to 25% — due to the ideal season, according to Maxinne Sclanders, President of the Perth Hills Vignerons Association. She said generally it was the best season since 1991. Vintage started in early February with Pinot and Chardonnay grapes being picked for sparkling wine. Vintage continued through to the picking of Cabernet in early to mid-March. Maxinne said the increased yield was due to a milder summer than usual, leading to a later finish to vintage and some superb quality fruit. In addition, the marri trees flowered at the right time, keeping the birds and bees away from the ripening grapes and ensuring a good clean crop. Some slight reduction was caused in some vineyards by burning from two bursts of intense heat. Rains into early summer resulted in patches of mildew in the damper sections of some vineyards. ‘It has been a great season for both reds and whites, with the reds showing marvellous depth of colour and intense flavour,’ Maxinne said.