A few grapes remain in the South Burnett-Taabinga are taking cabernet off this coming Tuesday yet their merlot is two weeks away (hail abused), and Ziebath also has merlot hanging. Clovely have petit verdot sitting out, and this seems to take forever to improve on 12.5 Baume. Tomorrow Barambah harvest the remaining semillon for rack dried sticky(16-17 Baume) holding up well under nets. The earlier grapes were in at 13 Baume and have air dried up to 21 Baume.

Serious rain has avoided the South Burnett-even what looked like the first cyclone since 1977 to take aim at the south-east corner, named “Odette” for 24 hours fizzled out. The Granite Belt is mid-vintage and is having to contend with hot days and periodic drizzle-there is some botrytis around as some growers have become complacent during the dry stretches! Concurrently I noticed few grapes still hanging in the Lower Hunter on February 23 during a brief visit-they were at Lakes Folly, and obviously the cabernet. During the afternoon sun showers delayed the desired process. Unlike Queensland yields Hunter Valley yields are reported to be near normal. However the Hunter harvest was terribly concentrated into short crushing windows with shiraz overlapping chardonnay-one property crushed 2000 tonnes out of its 2500 tonne intake in a fortnight!

March is supposedly the first month of autumn yet the maximum temperatures here spiked over 30 oC again.

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