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After a wet start to the season, the 2015 Hunter Valley vintage outlook was bleak. Gus Maher, Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association general manager, said dire forecasts were whispered among growers as rain washed away their hopes of a successful harvest.
Then the rain stopped, said Maher. And then the sun came out.
The regions luck turned around in late January. Moderate temperatures, matched with strong breezes helped to dry out tightly bunched fruit and eliminated the risk of what seemed inevitable disease.
Day after day, it has continued consistent dry warmth, ripening that precious fruit and bringing smiles and positive forecasts back amongst the winemaking fraternity, Maher said. Even better, there was talk of wonderfully ripe chardonnay fruit, and reds that have patiently waited out the rains and again started their ripening process.
Maher said growers in the region were predicting the 2015 vintage could be the quintessential Australian cracker!
Rod Kempe, chief winemaker for one of the Hunter Valleys iconic vineyards – Lakes Folly, said for such a tough year his cabernet vines were absolutely beaming.
Bring on the sunshine, Kempe said.
After a roller coaster ride since early December, February sunshine, and a good forecast for the next week, you can almost hear Murray Tyrrell shouting from the grave Vintage of the Century! said Maher. Well not quite Mr Tyrrell, but from the jaws of despair, the Hunter Valley looks like securing a very, very good vintage.