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According to Topper’s Mountain Wines Mark Kirkby, it has been a rough and unpredictable vintage in New England but will most likely turn out to be one of the best in the regions recent history since the mid-90s.
Early vintage was pretty good generally across New England but it didnt take long for some troubles to begin, he said.
There were widespread frosts in the region in mid to late October and in some instances caused significant damage.
Lynton Rhodes from Kurrajong Downs Vineyard near Tenterfield reported 40 per cent damage with Shiraz and Cabernet the most severely affected.
Andrew Close from Mihi Creek Vineyard, east of Uralla also reported significant damage to early varieties.
Rain-wise, early vintage to mid-December was okay with some rain falling every two to three weeks with good sunny ripening weather between these falls, Kirkby said.
From mid-December to mid-February the region was gripped by a serious drought and scorching temperatures reached the high-30s from early to mid-January.
This spell of dry, hot weather hastened ripening significantly and led to a 30 per cent fall in yields.
Most of the regions whites and early reds were picked two to three weeks early in late January and early February, soon after the hot spell.
Fruit quality was generally excellent and the wines now maturing reflect this.
In late February we began getting consistently overcast weather with some regular showers which got much worse in March, Kirkby said.
However by this time, the early vintage meant there wasnt much fruit left on the vines.
The quality of the later varieties was good but some baumes were lower than optimum due to small, regular falls of rain.