Eden Valley – 2006

The 2006 vintage shaped up as another high quality year but with only average
yields in Eden Valley and the Adelaide Hills. After a late break in mid-June last year, winter and spring rains were some of the best for years in the lead-up to flowering in early summer. Some varieties, such as riesling and shiraz, suffered more than others from poor set, leading to ‘hen and chicken’. While there was some damage in Eden Valley from frost, this had only a minor impact on the overall yield; however, yields in most varieties have shown to be down by 15-20%.

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. Brief heat waves occurred in late January and mid-February but were early enough not to affect quality, with only minor sunburn on exposed fruit.

The early ripening of the whites led to an early vintage. Whites were nearly all picked by the end of March with very little red fruit harvested, an unusual situation. 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 shiraz from Hill of Grace, Mount Edelstone and Eden Valley and pinot noir from Lenswood. The quality was fine, floral wines and we look forward to seeing what wonderful wines will develop. Further rain and wintry weather after Easter delayed harvest of the late-ripening varieties such as merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon and promoted unwanted opportunistic fungal and botrytis development. With no warm or dry weather in sight, the last of the bedraggled Eden Valley cabernet and Lenswood merlot was picked, between showers, in early May.