The pressing of our late harvest pinot gris last week signalled the official end of the 2016 vintage here at Montalto, a full three weeks earlier than last year.
Most people here on the Mornington Peninsula attribute the early harvest to the dry and hot growing season.
A quick look at the data from the weather station at our home vineyard at Red Hill South confirms that was indeed the case.
The average monthly temperature for vintage ’16 exceeded the average during vintage ’15 in every month from October to March, with the one exception being January.
The difference was greatest in December (18.2 vs 16.8) and March (18.6 vs 16.3).
Focusing on Heat Degree Days (HDD) provides even more compelling evidence that 2016 was a warm vintage.
HDD is a widely used measure in viticulture to calculate a vine’s exposure to temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius (below which there is little vegetative growth).
Again, the difference is greatest when comparing the data from December and March (see table below).
We’re obviously still waiting on the final April data, but the way things are headed it looks like another dry and hot month.