THE signs are positive early in the vineyards atCoonawarra.
According to Coonawarra Grapegrowers Association president Dan Newson, it has been a "good start to the season once things got underway."
An early flowering means vintage has been condensed as a result - shortening the process.
"People often like that," Mr Newson commented.
He added that the fruit set, when the fertilised flower begins to develop a seed and grape berry to protect the seed, was "pretty good".
Mr Newson explained the fruit set stage was very critical for wine production since it determines the potential crop yield.
"The bunches are fairly full - it's a good sign," he said.
While other regions have struggled with the hot conditions, Coonawarra has luckily escaped the worst.
"We've been quite lucky actually - the heatwave hasn't affected us too much," a relieved Mr Newson remarked.
The canopies are holding up very well and fruit size is looking around average, prompting more positive murmurs from growers.
This is a stark contrast to the disastrous 2011 vintage.
"We didn't have the issues we had a couple of years ago," Mr Newson said. "In general the season has been very kind so far...comparable to last year.
"I've spoken to a few growers and they are feeling pretty happy."
A lot of this happiness seems to be a result of favourable night time conditions, a respite from the daytime heat.
"The good bit is we're seeing some cold nights," Mr Newson said.
Growers are hoping the region can continue to see a favourable range of temperatures during the day and for the cool nights.
It is expected that harvest will begin with the whites around the last week of February and the reds in the second or third week of March.
AFTER struggling against the elements for years, Padthawaywine region is expected to have its second successful vintage in a row this year.
The grapes are currently going through veraison, changing colour as they ripen, and drier weather has been a blessing for vineyard managers who have been able to manipulate the conditions.
Padthaway Grape Growers Association president David Edwards said there had been low disease pressure due to minimal rains.
"There is potential for it to hopefully be as good a vintage as 2012. Everything is generally in good balance."
Vice-president Joe McInnes, manager of Eliza Lawson Vineyards, agreed the whole region was looking pretty good.
"I think everyone is pretty happy," he said. "If we get two years in a row it will be good for growers.
"Over the past five years we have battled through. It has been a struggle."
In particular the 2011 vintage was a tough one for growers in Padthaway due to heavy rains which caused plenty of disease and filled the grapes with water making them less flavourful.
Mr Edwards and Mr McInnes both believed harvesting would start in the second week of February - slightly earlier than normal.
"Yields are looking good but lighter," Mr McInnes said. "I suspect from sun exposure bunch weights will be down a bit."
Padthaway Estate viticulturist Troy Mathews and winemaker Steve Brown also expected to begin harvesting their vines mid-February.
"We are hoping for weather in the mid-20s and no rain," Mr Mathews said.
"If we get rain the disease botrytis might open up. Rain now would be the only thing to really put a dampener on how things are going."
Mr Brown added there had been enough winter rains to keep the soil moist during spring and summer.
"We had good winter rain in the growing season and there is a good canopy thanks to good ground water.
"It's years like this, when we don't have to intervene a lot, that often give the best results."
Mr Mathews said that while the hot weather might have slowed down the growing process slightly, the occasional hot day did not have a big impact.
"The vines just shut down and wait for it to get a bit cooler. It has been cooling down in the evenings which helps."