#V18 begins....

As we approach the ‘pointy-end’ of the growing season, #V18 is looking very good. The story this year is the dry conditions of the winter which, combined with lower cropping levels, means an early harvest.

The lack of rain meant there was a general moisture deficit in the sub-soil so, eventhough spring and summer rain has been ‘normal’, the warm to hot conditions of the past few weeks have moved things along.  Never a dull moment in primary production.

Whilst the beginning of #V18 proper is still at least two weeks away, the first Orange Region fruit for sparkling wine was picked last week from the warmer, lower altitude parts of the region. Fruit for sparkling wine, usually the early ripening Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, is picked at low sweetness/high acid with baume at around 10.5°.

The photo above shows harvest of Pinot Noir grapes at the Annangrove Park vineyard of See Saw Wines. It shows the tight bunches of the Pinot variety, so named for the shape that resembles pine cones. This fruit will end up as top quality Orange Region sparkling wine.

Cropping levels across the region are average or a bit below, particularly in Chardonnay. And the talk is that #V18 resembles #V16 but it really is too early to say. Will it be a Poetic Vintage? Quite possibly as one thing’s for sure, there’ll be plenty of rhyming when the Banjo Paterson Festival kicks off next week. See www.banjopatersonfestival.com.au for details.