We had early budburst across the region and warm weather until November when we had some cold temperatures. Rain throughout the season meant growers had to keep on top of canopy management and sprays. Since February we have seen beautiful ripening weather and superb fruit coming off the vines. Whites have good acidity and the warm finish has allowed full ripeness - Pinot Gris and Chardonnay are highlights. Reds have great colour due to the high UV during the season - excellent batches of Shiraz, Cabernet Franc and Merlot have been widely reported.
The Vintage of the Century? Story to come...
The 2014 vintage was unusual and difficult. It started with an early spring and September temperatures were well above the average. The average maximum for Orange is 14.1º but the mean for September 2013 was 17.1º.
This brought on an early shooting of the vines and budburst. October started to warm up but there were some serious frosts, with 4 days recording temperatures below minus 2º. These frosts eventually killed a lot of the shoots, and when the frosts passed more shoots developed, but they were weaker. Then December and January saw an onset of hot and very dry weather, with daily temperatures in the first half of January well over 35º and hot dry winds from the centre of Australia. The new shoots struggled. Those vineyards who have water, bores or dams, have survived somewhat, but yields are generally down, and picking has started earlier than usual. Although the quantity of wine produced in the region may be well down, the quality should, in most cases, be well above normal. We shall see!