Yarra Valley 2016 Vintage will have something for all wine lovers
Dry conditions prevailed in the lead up to the season with a very warm spring leading to an early but even bud burst across all varieties. Warm weather in December and early January further hastened ripening. The second half of January and February were benign with good warmth but no excessive heat. A much appreciated strong rain event in late January kept vines hydrated and healthy.
Harvest started early. As an indication, Giant Steps winemakers received grapes on February the 6th, the earliest date of any vintage thus far. Likewise, their last grapes were picked on March 10th, the earliest last pick for them. Winemaker Kate Goodman summarised the vintage similarly, noting the compressed timing of picking between early and late grape varieties. The same was also true of harvest timing between higher and lower altitude vineyards. Sites that usually are picked some weeks apart were harvested within days of each other.
Winemakers are reporting that they are very happy with how the earlier ripening varieties are looking, with highlights for both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Later ripeners, particularly Shiraz and Cabernet are showing early signs of being the stars of the vintage. Good fruit flavour generosity across all varieties will make 2016 a Yarra Vintage attractive for a wide range of wine consumers.