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The vintage was preceded by a perfect summer, warm and sunny whereas the 2002 summer was quite overcast. These weather conditions led to early veraison and rapid development of sugar and flavours, culminating in all varieties reaching ideal ripeness levels close to the same time, placing considerable pressure on availability of labour and machine harvesters.
The early ripening saved most whites and reds, but heavy rain in March affected fruit still on the vines. The rain brought unseasonable humidity and therefore some disease pressure and slowed ripening for remaining reds. Reasonable red gum flowering kept the silvereyes at bay, although some growers reported bird damage.
Red yields were slightly down on 2002 but reportedly fuller flavoured this year and Chardonnay yields were back up to pre-2002 levels. Merlot is showing more vibrant flavours than it has for a while, and winemakers are reporting this is a better year for reds. Generally the whites demonstrate broader flavour development displaying more tropical characteristics.