Our most recent harvest has been very pleasing, and nice turn around from 2014. We experienced good winter rains. Bud burst occurred in late August, with pleasant, warm conditions at flowering in late November and early December. During the growing season there was good shoot growth on the vines due to the winter rains and the moist soils.
By November 2010, heavy rains resulted in the breaking of a drought that had lasted for ten years. After so many difficult years, these rains were much welcomed. However, as the heavy rains continued through December and January, new challenges presented themselves! It was such a wet year we had to install pipes in certain sections of the vineyard to drain the water. How different this situation was when compared with the unrelenting drought that had persisted since 2000.
2010 was a very good year in Heathcote. Winter rains were great for the soil and the resulting water retention meant that, unlike recent years, the vines had a healthy canopy and were not stressed in the summer period.
The summer period leading up to vintage in mid-March was a challenging one. The preceding spring was one of the driest to date. In early summer temperatures were mild, however, by the end of January consistently high temperatures and strong hot winds culminated in the Black Saturday bushfires on 7 February. Throughout this period, the vineyard was irrigated carefully as the extreme weather conditions had stressed the vines which were beginning to lose their leaves. This delayed the onset of vintage. With cooler conditions in March and a lot of care and attention, the vines began to recover nicely and achieved a good level of ripeness by mid-March. We commenced with picking the Shiraz and Viognier in mid-March, with the Sangiovese following in late March and early April. Vintage drew to an end with the harvesting of the Nebbiolo in late April. As expected in such a year, yields were less than normal.