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Harvest began earlier than usual with Semillon, Chardonnay and Verdelho due to the unusually dry season. There were no significant rain events during January and February with continued warm to hot weather resulting in a lower than expected yield.
The Semillon wines are fresh and limey with a crisp acid backbone and show great potential to mature into classics. Verdelho and Chardonnay have plenty of fruit weight, typical of varieties and will produce flavoursome styles.
The main red variety Shiraz was harvested from mid February to early March depending on vine maturity and crop level. The consistent dry, hot weather again reduced yield with smaller berry size than usual. The resultant wines are deep in colour, rich in berry fruit with a soft tannin finish.
The Hunter harvest was completed in early March with a general feeling of success given the reduced yields in what was the hottest first three months of the year recorded coupled with below average rainfall.
Harvest has started earlier than usual on Semillon flavours, and quality looks excellent. Chardonnay and Verdelho crops ripening rapidly, again concentrated flavours expected.
The majority of growers in the Hunter have long-standing relationships with wineries, and the sale of fruit is a very complex issue. Unfortunately, growers without those arrangements are experiencing some difficulty in placing their fruit.