2017 Vintage Report
After a late 2017 harvest period, winter was very cold and drier than average. The valley experienced many frosts, with temperatures going down as low as -5 degrees. Snowfall occurred in the valley down as low as 300m. Snow coverage on Mt Donna Buang was as dense and elongated as in recent memory.
Spring started in the same fashion, with a very high frost risk due to cold nights and dry ground. This threat persisted until the end of November. Some vineyards got touched by isolated frost events, but overall the vineyards dodged a bullet this year.
There were numerous violent thunderstorms and heavy rainfall throughout spring, with significant hail fall in a band stretching from Yarra Glen to Gladysdale. Fortunately the hail occurred early in fruit set, and did not impact crops.
Glorious warm weather in the second half of November saw vineyards fly through flowering and fruit-set across all varieties, and a strong crop was set. The week commencing 27th November was Coldstream’s warmest November week in 150 years of data recording.
Heavy spring rains did lead to heavy disease pressure early, particularly from downy mildew. However going into Christmas, the dams were full, the soils held good moisture and most vineyards showed healthy, lush canopies.
The weather flipped completely in the new year. Dry, fine conditions prevailed from early January to early April. The valley only had one significant rain event throughout the ripening period. Fortunately, mild days and cool nights mitigated against vine stress. Very few days over 35 degrees were recorded. Most winemakers in the valley have not seen a more benign run of fine weather during vintage.
Harvest commenced in the second week of February with sparkling parcels from the valley floor. Most chardonnay and pinot noir in the valley was picked in the first two weeks of March. Fuller bodied reds from the upper-Yarra were still trickling in (having enjoyed ideal conditions throughout) in early April.
Highlights of the vintage will be chardonnay, which developed intense flavour at low baume and solid natural acidity, as well as shiraz and cabernet, both of which enjoyed the generous Autumn conditions.