Vintage Summary 2021

Growing Season & Vintage Conditions

Budburst occurred early in late September after a moderate winter and normal rainfall. A significant weather event with snow, hail and cold temperatures occurred right at budburst and unusually sustained over two days. Emerging buds were vulnerable, but fortunately freezing and damaging temperatures did not occur with no severe frosts following. There were two more minor frost events later in October but both were successfully fought.

Despite only slightly above average heat accumulation throughout the spring, the early budbreak set up the timing for an early flowering in the first week of December. During flowering, some rain occurred and temperatures hovered around average with a period of cool evenings raising concerns of a potential poor set.

Significant rainfall at the beginning of January and further rain in the middle of the month resulted in more than double the monthly rainfall for January. This, along with frequent wind, meant spray applications needed to be carefully scheduled to keep powdery mildew at bay. This wetter period throughout the phase of cell division resulted in generally larger berries and made-up for potentially lower bunch weights from the uneven flowering conditions. Meticulous bunch weight predictions were required to accurately predict yields with judicious thinning decisions required to achieve balanced yields. The weather stabilised in February with warmer and much drier conditions; which continued throughout the leadup, and until the conclusion of harvest.

Picking commenced relatively early with Chardonnay at Cornish Point on March 23 and at Elms two days later. All Chardonnay was completed by April 4. Pinot Noir at Cornish Point was harvested from March 25 to April 3 and at Calvert from March 26 to April 1. The heavier and cooler soils of MacMuir, and the higher elevation and cooler site at Elms, were both harvested from March 31 to April 11. Riesling was harvested from April 9 to 14 with the conclusion of Block 1 (on the heavier soils) on April 20.

Yields in Pinot Noir were on average pleasingly normal and within a tight range. Chardonnay yields were affected by flowering and about 20% below normal. Riesling bunch weights responded more aggressively to the wetter January with yields slightly above average. Fruit condition was very clean and with no weather interruptions over the harvest period.