The growing season commenced after the wettest winters for over a century, with rainfall at +265% of the long-term average; it’s an understatement to say it rained. Fields were super-saturated, but the soils stayed warm. No snow fell, there were few frosts. Just wet, wet, wet.
March and April were warmer than average, drier and sunnier; a much needed respite from the wettest winter since records began. Bud burst came around mid April. May was simply spring like, a little cooler, showery, one or two days of proper rain. June started well. Flowering and fruit set followed in rapid succession, with perfect bunches resulting. A long dry sunny warm phase unfolded right the way though August; the vines able to draw on the retained moisture in the predominantly clay soils. Véraison came slightly early. September was warm and predominantly dry. We planned on a harvest date in the second week of October. However, late September/early October saw cooler wetter conditions prevail and acids began to fall quite rapidly. We brought harvest forward by a week.
Although this was one of the wetter growing seasons, it was also one of the more sunny and with the highest Growing Degree Day totals to-date. The bunch weights were exceptionally good, contributing to one of the best crops in many years, & fruit flavours were simply luscious.