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2006 vintage report for Macedon Ranges (Victoria)

The Macedon Ranges wine region is diverse with elevated and cold sites suited to short season varieties. There are also warmer areas surrounding Mount Macedon. The region is noted for its long living, premium table wines and excellent Sparkling wines. The major varieties grown include: Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, together with Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Lagrein.
In normal years, sparkling-base harvest commences in late March with table-wine fruit harvested about three to four weeks later.
For 2006, vintage was 2-3 weeks ahead of normal because of the hot summer, and those vineyards which struggled to come to terms with water monitoring maybe had stressed vines. Humid conditions at flowering created latent Botrytis pressure in some vineyards. Yields varied across the region and in some locations were below average due to heat stress at flowering. Poor fruitset (hen and chicken) was widespread especially in Pinot Noir and Shiraz varieties. Only Chardonnay was not affected.
Humid weather in late January led to some mildew pressure at some locations. Those vineyard operators who have not kept up with a spray program now have powdery mildew and rust mite appearing late in the season. Those with a rigorous spray program and a little early irrigation prior to the rains in late February should have gained a better than average harvest.
A recent survey shows that currently about 17% of Macedon Ranges growers sell fruit only. The other 83% make their own wine or contract out their winemaking. Those with purchase agreements for their fruit felt very positive about this vintage. However, there were some growers who could not sell all their fruit and a small proportion of the region’s crop was left on the vine for the birds.