Average temperatures for August through November were significantly above average with September 1.2 degrees Celsius and October 3.7 degrees Celsius above the long term average. Not surprisingly bud burst was early and vines grew quickly and strongly setting up excellent pristinely clean canopies for the season. December and January were 0.8 and 1.7 degrees Celsius cooler than the long term mean allowing a steady development of bunches and ideal conditions for veraison and the development of the precursors that are the colour, tannin and flavour that we need to make great wine. The only significant rainfall in the growing season was 25 mm on the 13th of January and although this caused some initial apprehension it ended up just freshening the vines and focusing their energy on the bunches they were nursing. Less than 1 mm of rain fell after the 13th of January through to March and combined with warmer temperatures in February resulted in an organised but rapid harvest.
Earlier than usual supplementary irrigation was required with the prevailing dry conditions and was an important tool for the vineyard team to assist the vines through the occasional spike of heat. The prevailing dry conditions meant that the only spray protection the vines required was for powdery mildew (Odium). The Chardonnay harvest started on the 28th of January, a new record for the Davey Estate by at least a week. The first Shiraz pick was on the 12th of February and harvest was completed on the 12th of March with Mataro. Flavours and colours across the board were excellent and although sugars were higher than usual, good yeast management and some extra time in fermenters resulted in problem free fermentations.
The signals were clear right from the start and the Shingleback production team were ready and prepared for the early vintage resulting in a busy but reasonably stress free harvest. The excellent 2015 palette of wines that Dan and I have to work with is testament to the professionalism and hard work of all involved throughout the season.