2015 was a special vintage for me, the first back in the winery that I built as the Petaluma Winery now the Tapanappa Winery, since I resigned as Petaluma’s winemaker after the 2005 vintage. The first vintage in the fledgling winery was 1979 and it has just completed its 37th vintage in a wonderfully functional way.
As if to celebrate the occasion, the vintage God pulled out a benign variation from the pack of endlessly variable weather cards.
The weather pattern compared to their respective averages for the growing season, was the same in the Piccadilly Valley, on the Fleurieu Peninsula and in Wrattonbully
In all three of Tapanappa’s “distinguished site” vineyards the rain received from August to December 2014 was just over 40% of average, implying the vines went into bud burst and through flowering in early spring with very dry subsoil conditions.
As well as being very dry the 3 spring months were much warmer than average and bud burst and flowering were 2 weeks earlier than average with vigour constrained by the dry conditions.
The vines flowered in warm dry sunny conditions and fruit set was rapid and complete in all three vineyards.
January brought the only significant rain of the harvest when a post cyclonic rain band dumped in all three-vineyard regions, less on the Fleurieu Peninsula than in the Piccadilly Valley and at Wrattonbully.
The three summer months (December to February) were moderate and slightly warmer than average then temperatures plummeted for the final ripening months of March and April.
The heat summation for The Tiers Vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley was exactly on average for the 2015 growing season (1173°C days), for the Foggy Hill Vineyard on the Fleurieu Peninsula it was slightly cooler than average (1113°C days) and for the Whalebone Vineyard in Wrattonbully it was slightly warmer than average (1522°C days).
As expected the diurnal range (difference between day and night temperatures) was a very low 9.1°C in Foggy Hill, a Burgundy like 10.7°C at the Tiers and the more exaggerated colder night, hotter day reflection of the inland location of Whalebone at 15.6°C.
2015 has produced fully flavour ripe grapes at moderate sugar levels in an early, dry and average temperature harvest. The wines from all three vineyards are concentrated and intense and are “pure reflections of their unique terroirs.”