Wrattonbully wine region positive

THE Wrattonbully wine region has a positive vibe as it prepares for harvest.

With vintage expected to start in the last week of February, the region is starting to see a bit of activity with machine harvesters being moved about in readiness.

Wrattonbully Wine Region Association chair James Freckleton said it was exciting to see.

"Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are getting close and we are coming into a nice patch of ripening weather," he said.

"It's certainly looking positive at the moment but we are still a month out so it's a little early to call."

Mr Freckleton said harvest was probably a little bit on the late side compared to previous years, with the exception of 2011 where there was excessive rain.

Hot weather in late December and early January slowed the vines down a little, but more recently the kind weather had allowed the berries to ripen at a natural progression.

"At the moment it's the ideal conditions for ripening," he said.

Due to minimal rainfall since winter, there had been low disease pressure and vineyards were looking quite healthy.

Some humid weather early made things tricky, but Mr Freckleton said this was well managed across the region.

The only problem that had affected the region was a few episodes of frost early on in the season.

"This was the biggest issue for some Wrattonbully growers."

"It only hit fairly odd areas though so some pockets of vineyards had a nasty hit, but fortunately most got away largely unscathed."

Varieties like chardonnay have rather small berries this year and cabernet was looking a bit lighter than usual but everything else was expected produce average yields.

"As a region we are in an exciting phase," Mr Freckleton said.

"A lot of the vineyards went in in the mid to late 90s so they are all really coming of age. At 15 to 20 years old they settle into a nice groove so it's exciting to see what we can achieve with each new season.

"There is more consistency with quality across the board."

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