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2004 Vintage Report

Canonbah Bridge 2004 Vintage Report

General:
Vintage was later this year – starting in the third week of January, and progressing in fits and starts until the first week of February. In contrast to last year where all the grapes were harvested over a 10 day period before the end of January. The drought conditions of 2002/2003, prevailed through to the 2004 vintage – and this reflected in lower yields than even conservatively predicted. On the bright side – quality remained high with concentrated fruit flavours and small berry size– a direct benefit of low yields. In particular our Merlot juice has leapt forward in terms of flavour profile, and seems to have thrived through the harsh season.

Overall it was a tricky year in vineyard management – in the critical period after bud burst, we struggled to keep the water up to the vines, and with hot winds and record high temperatures in January, the vines showed signs of stress in the few weeks running up to Christmas. We wholeheartedly believe that our commitment to not using any chemicals on the vines and low yields ensures that they develop a resilience that is essential during heat-waves such as summer 2004 (Jan and Feb). Evidence of stress included a desirable lower canopy to berry ratio. The good news for us is that the season provided ideal conditions for producing our Canonbah Bridge Drought Reserve Shiraz – which we only release in years where yields are particularly low with intense characters due to harsh dry conditions.

Varietal reports are as follows: Shiraz, Merlot, Semillon, Verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Grenache, Mourvedre.

VARIETY – SHIRAZ
A tough year for the Shiraz vines – extended drought conditions. Being the most westerly block, the Shiraz was affected the most by the hot dry westerly wilds through the peak of the summer. The Shiraz was the last variety to be picked, and the most affected by the drought in terms of yield. Tiny berries – with concentrated colour and flavour.
Trellis system: Australian Sprawl
Harvest date: 6th and 7th February
Yield/acre: 1.85 tonnes.
Picking method: Night machine picked
Baume: 14.5
pH: 3.56

VARIETY – MERLOT
An exciting year for the Merlot – the vines had fantastic, healthy leaf coverage, and therefore were less affected by the heat and sun. The healthy canopy also demonstrated that the vines were taking on adequate water. The juice showed great characteristics and concentration, and a marked improvement on last year.
Trellis System: Vertical Shoot Positioning
Harvest date: 28th January
Yield/acre: 1.97 tonnes.
Picking method: Over night machine picked
Baume: 13.5
pH: 3.6

VARIETY – SEMILLON
The Semillon had a noticeably less luxuriant canopy compared to last year – a sign of water stress and possibly over pruning. Yields were lower than last year –consistent with the other varieties – and a variance in quality across the block.
Trellis System: High Wire Vertical Shoot Positioning
Harvest date: 22 January
Yield/acre: 2 tonnes
Picking method: Early morning hand picking
Baume: 13
pH: 3.20

VARIETY – VERDELHO
Trellis system: Vertical Shoot Positioning
Harvest date: 20 January
Yield/acre: 2.18 tonnes.
Picking method: Night machine picking
Baume: 12.5
pH: 3.60

VARIETY – SAUVIGNON BLANC
Trellis System: Smart-Dyson System
Harvest date:18 February
Yield/acre: 3 tonnes
Picking method: Night machine picking
Baume: 12.2
pH: 3.67

VARIETY – CHARDONNAY
Trellis System: Vertical Shoot Positioning
Harvest date: 4th February
Yield/acre: 3 tonnes
Picking method: Night machine picked
Baume: 12.8
pH: 3.50

VARIETY – GRENACHE
Trellis System: Bush vine
Harvest date: 5th February
Yield/acre: 2.7 tonnes
Picking method: Night machine picked
Baume: 13
pH: 3.68

VARIETY – MOURVEDRE
Trellis System: Australian Sprawl
Harvest date: 4th February
Yield/acre: 3.2 tonnes
Picking method: Night machine picked
Baume: 13.7
pH: 3.65

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