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2003 vintage report for Perth Hills (Western Australia)

A very hot, dry summer was experienced in the Perth Hills, with little rain. This led to an unusual season, especially around ripening, with many growers experiencing uneven ripening.

Bird damage was bad for growers along the scarp in the early varieties at veraison, and many netted earlier than usual. This was followed by unusually heavy marri blossoming and the complete disappearance of birds.

Further north, early and very heavy marri blossom meant minimal damage to crops. There was very little crop loss through disease. This was obviously due to good disease control through regular spray programs, but could also have been aided by the very hot and dry weather.

Most growers had lower yields, probably because of hot weather and no increase in irrigation (Western Australia still has water restrictions). Overall fruit quality was good to excellent in both red and white varieties. Many growers reported powerful and concentrated flavours and generally believed it to be a very good vintage.