Following a record early harvest in 2016, Vignerons and Winemakers in the Macedon Ranges experienced an overall favourable vintage.
The region experienced good rainfall between May and November of 2016, leading to later than normal onset of flowering. Good fruit set was reported with only a few incidents of hen and chicken in the white varieties.
The north of the region however experienced a drier period from December to February. Consequently, non-irrigated vineyards experienced a slower ripening process with an average to a little above-average crop.
There was been exceptional canopy growth to date, with minimal yellowing of leaves along fruit zones.
Veraison commenced from mid-February, with reports of vintage being back to normal. There was been good bunch development throughout, with high quality fruit reported.
As harvest approached however, due to prevailing humidity and dampness, episodes of Powdery and Downy Mildew with some indication of Botrytis due to split berries was increasingly reported. This has been particularly evident in Chardonnay and other aromatic varieties.
Base wines were being picked from late March with most table wine grapes picked mid to late April.
Due to higher disease pressure, a cooler autumn and unseasonal heavy rainfall Vignerons needed to work hard to maintain fruit health and yield. Fortunately, most reports from wineries favoured greater yields and quality of fruit.