The season kicked off with a long and cold winter, from May to September, with 35% more rainfall than the long term average and more than enough cold units for dormancy. The good rain resulted in full dams and good subsoil reserves and much later irrigation applications.
Spring was cold and rainy, and bud break occurred about 7 to 10 days later than normal. The soils stayed cold for long and spring fever symptoms (light green leaves) were seen in most vineyards.
Flowering was uneven and disease pressure high with downey mildew outbreaks in most regions.
Thunderstorms during November 2013 led to vigorous growth, which resulted in dense canopies.
Mid-December 2013 until the first week of January 2014 was hot and dry, with widespread rain again during the second week of January. With the late rain Botrytis (rot) can be expected in dense canopies.
Larger berries are expected especially on the Merlot and Syrah, which will cause diluted flavour and colour.
The harvest is expected to be a week later than last year.
Photo caption: Johan Fortuin on his tractor