It feels as though we are still catching our breath after an incredibly compressed and very busy vintage – the result of every single variety deciding to ripen at once! We expanded our picking team considerably to enable us to hand pick up to 4 blocks a day – which was a first! Yields were down a bit, even though the bunch and berry numbers were much the same as usual. Most vignerons reported a similar experience, which was mainly the result of the very long dry period this season. Hence, berries were smaller, less weight per bunch, but more concentration of not only colour but also flavour. At this early stage the wines look excellent, nicely balanced, still lovely structural acidity despite the very warm and dry season, and fabulous flavour development. And no it hasn’t rained yet – in fact we’ve been recently irrigating “baby” vines to keep their roots moist!! I think this “dry” now exceeds the prolonged dry we experienced from ’07 to ’09, and looks like nudging some meteorological records! Every vintage has it challenges!