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2014 vintage report for Geographe (Western Australia)

According to AHA Viticulture director Jim Campbell-Clause who spoke on behalf of the Geographe Wine Association, seasonal weather conditions were conducive to maintain a consistent yield and high quality fruit.
Early winter was drier than usual but by late July to early spring, conditions were wet which set up good soil moisture.
“Spring conditions were also good with cool, wet conditions ending in mid-October, however mean, minimum and maximum temperatures were higher than long term averages throughout spring,” he said.
“We did experience some spring storms prior to flowering but minimal damage was reported throughout the region.”
Summer was extremely dry with maximum temperatures higher than average.
Disease pressure was low except for powdery mildew which was potentially due to difficult spraying conditions earlier in the season.
“Snail pressure was also very high in spring and early summer but most other pests were not of significance.”
The region saw average to above average crops in white varieties due to good soil moisture conditions early in the season and even growing conditions throughout.
Fruitset was good in Chardonnay which resulted in perfect bunch size and acidity.
“Much of the white crop was harvested at lower baumes than usual as the right flavor had developed early,” Campbell-Clause said.
“Red also performed well with Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot producing average crop sizes however bunch numbers were down in some areas, particularly with Shiraz.
“Much of the red crop was harvested earlier than normal but in some sites, winemakers elected to leave the fruit to further ripen and given the cooler conditions in late summer and early autumn, this slow ripening allowed fruit freshness to be maintained and maximum flavor to develop.”
At the time of this report (7 April) some reds were still yet to be harvested.
Earlier in the season vine vigour was strong but warm, dry and windy conditions helped keep it under control.
In some wet soil sites, canopy development was slow and resultant canopies were smaller than normal.
Water management was important late in the season due to a very long, dry and warm period and in some vineyards, fruit thinning was required to maximise flavor intensity and development.
Campbell-Clause said this season’s weather conditions throughout the ripening period resulted in ideal conditions for yield and quality.

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