Hot summer a great vintage for Bendigo region wineries

IT IS vintage time for wineries across the region.

Mandurang Valley Wines owner Pamela Vine said their chardonnay and riesling grapes had already been picked and pressed and they were now working on picking their merlot, shiraz and cabernet grapes. She said the hot conditions over summer had led to an earlier vintage than in other years.

“In the past we’d have some cooler days and rain during summer and that would slow things up, but it’s been a lot hotter for a lot longer and that’s made it earlier.”

She said even last week’s downpour, where more than 40 millimetres fell on Bendigo in three days, had not affected the crop.

“It was over and done within a short amount of time,” she said.

Ms Vine said it was shaping up to be a good season for the Mandurang vineyard.

Water Wheel Vineyard owner Peter Cumming is also expecting a good vintage, with yields up to levels before the millennium drought. “We’re back up to normal yields, which is fantastic. It’s great to have grapes to play with.”

The Bridgewater vineyard completed picking all its white wine grapes just under two weeks ago, before last week’s rain.

Mr Cumming said they were waiting another three to four days until they started picking their red wine grapes.

He said because this summer had been hot without having long periods of 40-plus degree days it had retained the rich colour in the red wine grapes.

“It means the colour in our 2013 vintage red wines will be great,” he said.

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