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Our vineyard manager at Merron Park and Mt Helen Fred Boote shares some insights into past vintages.
Climate-wise, the 2010 season saw us come closer to a ‘normal’ vintage.
Budburst came in early September with stable weather patterns throughout the growing period. Harvest commenced two weeks earlier than expected and was completed by late March, approximately four weeks early, with little harvest difference between the reds and whites. Yields were generally in line with estimates, and fruit quality was excellent with no pest or disease problems.
Another tough year, just enough water to see us through for this vintage, leaving no reserve for the oncoming season. Veraison rushed through and the oppressive heat threw all into chaos, including the vines. Yields were lower than estimated although Quality, particularly the shiraz, was extremely good. Smoke from Victorias fires caused problems with smoke taint evident in some varieties, resulting in some fruit being left on the vines.
It's no secret that most of Victoria has experienced drought for many years. The Strathbogie Ranges are no exception however the well established vineyards have fared remarkably well. Both vineyards had exceptional growth in 2008, the greatest challenge was managing the yields. Veraison rushed through as summer heated up and saw many varieties ripening at once putting pressure on us to get the fruit off the vine in a shorter period of time.
Exceptionally low rainfall of 504 mm meant pre-budburst irrigation was required. Crop estimates indicated an average yield, but once again small berry size delivered high quality fruit across both vineyards. A revised spray regime meant that unlike any other vineyard in the area, our vineyards were free from pests and diseases.