The 2021 growing season started off wet with above average rainfall throughout Spring. The wet weather brought with it many challenges to the vineyard management; we battled with a tight spray program early in the season as we experienced almost fortnightly downpours of 10mm or more. This weather pattern consequently brought with it the added challenge of vineyard access, fortunately for the vineyard team we exited Spring unscathed with no bogged machinery and relatively mud free hands. Contrary to what may be thought, the early onset rains carry benefits amongst the challenges. Given that Mac Forbes vineyards are dry grown it ensured there was adequate water supply early on which ensured the vines could carry through early season development unhindered by water stress during the most important phenological stages.
The above average rainfall continued into early summer but with longer intermissions between rain events. The mild temperatures conducive with this weather pattern allowed for minimal heat days above 35 degrees which facilitated a steady ripening season, ideal for the delicate nature that characterizes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
With the wet conditions flowing through into January and finally clearing up in February the concern around increased disease pressure subsided. Carefully timed crop thinning in certain micro blocks that carried above average loads was carried out shortly before the harvest kicked off. This enabled the team to refine the quality of the micro blocks and eliminated much of the disease pressure associated with botrytis.
Harvest began earlier than past vintages with fellow growers in the Valley agreeing “we might just get an Easter this year”. For the harvest team the majority of the harvest was short and sweet with only small windows between picks across the multiple properties. A challenging season concluded in an outstanding harvest. Yields remained slightly higher than average, yet quality remained focused.