Vintage Reports


A dry winter required early strategic supplementary irrigation on the Davey Estate to assist with bud burst and early canopy growth. Flowering and berry set were good and crops appeared slightly above average. A hail event and strong winds on the 21st of November damaged newly..


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..


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. 


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.


Harvest started early on February 5 with the McLaren Vale whites being completed before the rain on the 13th of February. McLaren Vale again proved why it is the most reliable wine grape district in the world with less than 50mm of rain falling at the Davey Estate, compared to more than 125mm north of Adelaide.


A little supplementary drip irrigation was needed from around the New Year to help the vines through the hotter weather and ensure the berries achieved the varietal flavours, ripe tannins and balanced acidity that are the precursors of good wine.


We picked our first white, Semillon, on February 8th and were well into Shiraz by late February. Sugar levels climbed quickly and in a very timely fashion nature delivered 60mm of rain on the last day of the month. Luckily, canopies dried quickly and there was no splitting. 


Good winter rainfall refreshed the soil and delayed bud burst. Balanced and attentive hand pruning set up open canopies with the right crop levels for the cooler year that unfolded. Rain events meant that timely decisions and precise application of protective strategies were essential. 


There was a week or so between finishing the Shiraz and starting on the Cabernet Sauvignon. The only rain to speak of conveniently fell over two days just after the Shiraz was picked and assisted the steady ripening and development of flavours and tannins in the Cabernet. 


Soils held moderate moisture levels from winter in the lead up to the 2009 vintage. Some early irrigation was required to compensate for ongoing drought conditions. Vine canopies had moderate shoot growth with good internode spacing, negating any requirement for summer trimming.


Good winter rainfalls, followed by ideal spring and summer conditions created strong, healthy canopies in balance with the slightly above average yields. The whites ripened early with intense fruit flavours and balanced acidity. Harvesting commenced in mid February and was completed over the following 10 days.


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. Unlike many other areas, McLaren Vale was relatively unaffected by frost. 


Good spring rains created strong canopies that helped to see the grapes through some hot January weather. The burst of heat reduced vigour and led to slow, even ripening. The result was the early development of rich, vibrant varietal flavour. 


A cool summer and perfect dry, warm autumn in 2005 will possibly see it be recognised as one of South Australia's greatest vintages. All varieties fully ripened with intense fruit flavours and balanced natural acidity. The reds were vibrant in colour with mature, textured tannins.


The three vintages preceding 2004 were climatically very different: 2001 – hot, 2002 – cool and 2003 – dry. The 2004 growing season was climatically normal with good spring growth and a long, dry autumn. Ripening was slightly later than usual with whites being picked in mid-March and reds in late March to late April.


Low winter rainfall and a dry spring reduced yields and provided concentrated small berry fruit. The vineyard teams dedicated attention to detail and perfectly time supplementary irrigation assisted the vines to produce fruit with outstanding colour and depth of flavour.


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.