House prices in Australia have been freefalling for months but have you ever heard a real estate agent say they are “up the putty”? Same story with winemakers in Mudgee since 2015 – our run of wine vintages has been spectacular!
Well in the case of this year (taking you back to late February/March), it is ever so slightly exaggerated because it was hot, damn hot. Windy too! The heat didn’t worry the vines but keeping water up to them certainly worried many vignerons. A lush, green canopy is the biological equivalent of a parasol. Leafy vines produced more shade and less sunburn.
However, this year higher day and night temps far exceeded historical records. Hail also battered leaves and bruised fruit in distinct paths around the region. Fruit was dropped from badly affected vines because of potential sunburn. Thankfully, hail-damaged fruit shrivelled and dropped off, and the vineyard, now in its 6th year of organic management, survived well despite some of the obstacles thrown at it.
While many producers in the region (and beyond) reported lower yields than usual, we were lucky to find our yield on par with 2018 and with fruit of good colour and flavour. It is too soon to judge quality, but the early signs are good.
One day soon we expect bad things to happen, but so far the vineyard is showing extraordinary resilience. We have been lucky; sadly others have not had such good fortune.