Adelaide Hills – 2006

The 2006 vintage shaped up as another high quality year but with only average yields in the Adelaide Hills. After a late break in mid-June of last year, winter and spring rains were some of the best for years in the lead-up to flowering in early summer. Some varieties suffered from poor set, leading to ‘hen and chicken’. Although there was virtually no rain after Christmas, the summer was mild with southerly winds, reminiscent of 2002. The vines were vigorous and lush at first but slowly underwent mild stress during berry development, helping to keep the berry size small, an important factor for red wine quality. Brief heat waves occurred in late January and mid-February but were early enough not to affect quality.

The vintage was one of the earliest on record; whites were nearly all picked by the end of March. After a warmer than usual spell in late March, a significant and unseasonal torrential rainfall event of 50mm occurred on Sunday 26 March delaying harvest and causing concern with split and botrytis. With the weather fining up again, picking continued with our pinot noir from Lenswood. The quality was fabulous. Further rain and wintry weather after Easter delayed harvest of the late-ripening varieties such as merlot and cabernet sauvignon and promoted unwanted opportunistic fungal and botrytis development. With no warm or dry weather in sight, the last of the bedraggled Lenswood merlot and cabernet was picked, between showers, in early May.