Vintage 2013 #v13 UPDATE - 19/2/2013

Vintage 2013 was looking like being one of the best in the last 20 years, but then, as they say a week is a long time...

Shiraz vineyard canopy, Colville Rd, Willunga. The has held very well, but all fruit is now showing some degree of shriveling & gully winds are adding to dehydration of fruit.
Last week Philip White's Drinkster blog was optimistic;
"The bunches seem unusually pendulous, especially in the Shiraz: they’re long and healthy, and while they’ve got plenty of space between the berries to let that healthy air through that sparsity’s counter-balanced by the fact that the berries are tiny (better flavour) but the yields will be down (ease the glut)."
Unfortunately vineyards have suffered heat damage after 72 hours of hot conditions during the last week. The hot day and night time temperatures have caused leaf yellowing, sun scorching and increased the amount of berries shrivel. The hot temperatures have also caused berry sugar levels to ‘spike’ with some vineyards harvested on Monday being delivered to their winery above 16oBe. How much this will affect wine quality is debatable.

Shriveled Shiraz in the Sellicks Foothills, McLaren Vale Wine Region.

Cooler weather will give vines the chance to recover and  rehydrate. Until harvest is completed irrigation is vitally important. As the top soil is completely dry vines are now dependent on accessing water from the wetted bulb underneath drippers. 

This weeks CropWatch McLaren Vale is reporting; 
"The Willunga Post Office, which is an official bureau of meteorology site for our region, has recorded nearly 60mm of rain between October and February. This is quite dry for our region compared to long term climate data."

  Table of dry or hot seasons from Willunga, SA.

Rainfall Oct - Feb
59.8 mm # to date
50.3 mm
108.8 mm
96.4 mm
51.2 mm

*Pirramimma Rainfall Data as Willunga data incomplete

Weather conditions in the Adelaide Hills have not been as hot, or as dry, but vines are still beginning to look tired. On the southern Fluerieu some Pinot and Sauvignon Blanc has been picked. Disease levels are low and vines are holding well. 


Ben Lacey said…
Hi James,

Thanks for looking up this data. The other thing is that so much of the 59.8mm has been ineffective rainfall as it has come mostly in 5 to 7mm falls or below and at weeks apart. At Olivers road the last time we had 10mm or above in a single event was on the 6th November. In some of those other years we had a good dump or two of rain. I don’t have the figures for 91/92 or 01/02 but in 07-08 we had 30 odd mm in late December and in 08/09 we had around 25mm in mid December. The last time we had around 20mm was the 11/12th of October.

Even coming of a wet winter we can really see the effect a dry spring and summer is having on the vines. An inch in the middle of January would have been ideal, but we are working with Mother Nature and it is never ideal!!


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