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With all of the flooding around Australia of recent times, it's hardly a surprise to say that the start of the 2011 vintage was wet. However, it was very wet - in fact, during the first half of November alone we copped more than double the amount of rain that we usually receive for all of November! As a result, all major growing regions suffered outbreaks of downy mildew and viticulturalists had a hectic job of managing the vines to keep it under control.

Thank god we didn't write off the vintage like some, though, because with December and January came perfect ripening conditions for what our winemaker regards as some excellent wines. Our Semillon was harvested late in January (as has been typical of the past few vintages) and the Durif and Chambourcin achieved excellent flavour and sugar levels early in February.

In the spirit of experimenting, we decided this year to leave small parcels of fruit out on the vine until later in the season in the hope of making our first dessert and fortified wines. However, sustained hot conditions foiled our efforts and the result wasn't up to our exacting standards. On a bright note, though, we've commenced production of our first Sparkling Semillon and, although it won't be released for some time yet, initial signs are very promising.