Eden Valley – 2008
The 2008 vintage in Eden Valley was preceded by an average rainfall and a mild and unusually frost- free spring with regular rainfall periods. Fine flowering weather meant good set despite the expectation that the previous drought year of 2007 would affect yields. The vines also showed surprisingly vigorous growth. A dry and hotter than average early summer caused smaller berry and bunch size. Although temperatures climbed to over 40C around New Year and in mid-February, the weather from mid-January through February was the coolest for 30 years, allowing amazing development of fruit colour, flavour and maturity. One of the earliest harvests on record, which began early February, produced exceptional whites, in particular riesling.
In early March South Australia suffered an unprecedented record heat wave of 15 days over 35C. The unexpected searing heat seemed never-ending and resulted in stressed vines, significant leaf drop, escalating sugar levels in the fruit and significant shrivel. A cool change followed, which brought relief; however it was too late for fruit still hanging, which had literally cooked on the vine. Selective early morning handpicking, leaving shrivelled fruit on the vines, gave the best quality, resulting in some amazing intensely coloured and flavoured reds, in particular shiraz.
It was an easy season to practise organic viticulture and a season that demanded biodynamics to keep the vines healthy.