The growing season for 2015/16 began with well below average winter and spring rainfall.
September was cool with daily temperatures below average, this combined with low rainfall meant the vine shoots grew slowly in early spring. Then three consecutive months of warmer and drier than average conditions demanded earlier irrigation than the vines would normally require.
Flowering conditions were quite good, not as windy as in some years, however some welcome rain in the middle of November did cause some flower caps to stick, reducing fruit set a little. The upside of such dry conditions was that disease pressure was extremely low and the vine canopies and grapes were in pristine health.
Between the 29th of January and the 3rd of February, the drought broke and we received 44mm of much welcome rain. The extremely dry sub-soils swallowed up this rain easily, while freshening canopies and filling out berry size and, fortunately, no disease or berry split was to be found.
The first parcel, Block 8 Shiraz, was picked on the 17th of February and the final ripening period provided mild conditions, ideal for full flavour development. Block 6 produced a lovely balanced crop of 10.65 tonnes, picked on the 7th of March, which historical records show is pretty typical timing.
What started out as an early vintage concluded with 1.56 tonnes of Nero d'Avola, picked on the 4th of April, which is a pretty normal date to finish up. Whilst total tonnes were below long term averages, quality was solid. The wines are highly aromatic with gentle acidity and moderate alcohol levels. The fruit profile is dark and concentrated, supported by fine lingering tannins with great potential for ageing in the cellar. The stand out varietal for the 2016 vintage was Grenache.