After a dry start to winter we had good rainfall, ending up 10% above the long term averages, flushing and filling soil profiles to saturation. Although a mid-September bud burst was later than recent vintages it was in line with long term averages. Spring rainfall was well below average, resulting in low disease pressure.
Healthy soaking winter rains continued through spring and into early summer setting up good canopies without the need of supplementary irrigation. Wet soils and a cool start to spring resulted in flowering being 3 weeks later than in the previous years. Good fruitfulness of the vines and higher bunch weights meant crop levels were generally above average.
Winter in 2015 was relatively dry and although totals ended up near normal rain events were spread out with few heavy soaking rains. The spring that followed was exceptionally dry resulting in low disease pressure but requiring early irrigation to ensure balanced vine canopies. October and December were hot and November warm and ideal for flowering and fruit set.
Vintages over the last few years have tended to be early but 2015 sets a new record for McLaren Vale and South Australia. Good early rainfall from April to July in 2014 replenished the soil profile setting up a strong bud burst. In late July however someone turned off the tap and dry warm conditions prevailed through the end of winter and continued through the growing season.
A record number of 40˚C+ days along with high winds during the growing season challenged growers. Establishing good canopy early, along with critical timing of supplementary irrigation, was essential. This was managed to near perfection by Michael and the vineyard team.
Good winter rains filled the soil profile with run off overflowing the winter creeks and quickly filling the dam on the estate. An even bud burst and steady shoot growth developed balanced canopies with improved average crop levels through a very dry and disease free spring.
With an early budburst and flowering, as well as low bunch numbers and small bunches, 2012 was always going to be an early vintage.
The summer was warm, with strong gully winds that tested some of the more exposed vineyards. In many cases crops were less than half the average but the intensity of colour, flavour and deliciously chewy tannins was amplified, heralding a great vintage.
The long drought broke in typical Australian fashion with flooding rains in the eastern states. South Australia’s McLaren Vale was lucky to be spared the worst of the weather.
Vintage started with Chardonnay on the 8th of February and finished with the last of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache on the 26th of March.
Every vineyard has its own story but ours in 2009 is extremely positive. Dedicated work from all members of the Shingleback team resulted in exceptional batches of wine that after maturation and blending will bring a smile to the lips they pass.
2008 will be remembered as a unique vintage - a vintage of contrast, with the early fruit being outstanding in richness and concentration, whilst the later, heat-affected fruit was left to shrivel on the vine.
The 2007 vintage will be remembered for the driest winter and spring on record. Early recognition of the severity of the drought triggered supplementary irrigation as early as bud swell.
The benevolence of the “weather gods” meant that the 2006 vintage was extremely orderly, but more importantly, resulted in highly aromatic and varietal wines with balanced acidity and fine tannins.
A cool summer and perfect dry, warm autumn in 2005 will possibly see it be recognised as one of South Australia's greatest vintages.
The three vintages preceding 2004 were climatically very different: 2001 – hot, 2002 – cool and 2003 – dry. The 2004 growing season was climatically normal...
Low winter rainfall and a dry spring reduced yields and provided concentrated small berry fruit.
Harvesting finished in mid April after a long, cool, dry season. These mild conditions produced intensely coloured reds, complex, ripe berry fruit flavours and velvety tannin structures.