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The Mornington Peninsula experienced little disease incidence this year, with some mildew in early season and some botrytis late in cooler areas.
In a report from Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Associations executive officer Cheryl Lee, despite some significant rain events, the regions vineyards remained clean and comfortable. A much easier season than 2011.
Warmer areas started picking in late February/early March and were completed by the end of March while the cooler, elevated areas started at the end of March and werel finished by mid-April. An extended difference of about one to two weeks more than the average was seen between harvesting in the north and south parts of the region this year.
Yields are slightly down and flavours are looking fantastic with winemakers expressing relief for another year that crops are in the shed and looking promising. A more personal Mornington account was also offered by Rosalie White, from Main Ridge Estate (the first commercial winery in the region).
Bringing in the grapes at Main Ridge Estate is a traditional harvest festival, involving many friends of the White family. As the vineyard contains many clones of Pinot Noir as well as Chardonnay and Merlot, all of which ripen at different times, vintage continues for up to six weeks.
The weekend crews are teams of long-standing friends of Main Ridge Estate, many of whom have risen at dawn in suburban Melbourne. Our weekly crew are local friends who pick day after day throughout the entire season. A school holiday bonus is their group of children and teens who swell the ranks.
2012 is Main Ridge Estates 32nd commercial vintage and many of our friends have been involved in every one. Real people take care of every bunch, reject imperfect fruit, filter out leaves and pine-needles, all of which would be gobbled up greedily by mechanical harvesting machines. The vintage day continues until lunch time, with the rest of the day devoted to serious eating and drinking.
Source: Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker May 2012