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Lorna Penketh, secretary of the Perth Hills Vignerons’ Association, reports that vintage in the Perth Hills region was very unusual because of weather patterns. Perth experienced its driest spring/summer period since 1877, with only 91 mm of rain between September and March (the average for the period is 212 mm). Lorna said there was a lot of humidity and only two or three bursts of very hot weather, but generally fungal problems were minimal. Vintage was 1-2 weeks earlier than usual for all varieties. ‘The gap between harvesting the white and red varieties closed, posing problems (often last minute) with availability of pickers, and in programming the crush at the winery,’ Lorna said. The advanced ripening meant that birds were more of a problem than usual. There was damage to some varieties not usually affected. The marri flowering was less abundant this year and some vineyards suffered significant losses to birds of up to 30%. Lorna said fruit quality appears to be of a high standard. Many vineyards reported lower yields due to the dry weather and uneven fruitset in some cases. Some growers said berries were smaller but exhibited very good flavour and early reports indicate good quality red wines resulted.