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THE winemaking team at TarraWarra Estate in the Yarra Valley is well into their 31st vintage and the effect of this year’s crazy weather is beginning to show.

TarraWarra Estate’s head winemaker and general manager Clare Halloran shares her updates from on the ground.

Harvest commenced on 12 February, one of TarraWarra’s earliest picks yet.

The team has now picked all its Chardonnay, most of its Pinot Noir and is waiting for the later varieties to ripen.

“The fruit has been in amazing condition and the Chardonnay batches that have completed their ferments look stunning.  It’s so rewarding to see the years of work that go into our vineyard come to fruition,” Halloran said.

“Our new clones of Chardonnay look particularly good; these also have the advantage of holding their acid levels in warmer seasons.

“Pinot Noir also tastes lovely, with high tone fruit even at this early stage.  We know we are going to have some excellent wines this year, the bad news is however, there won’t be much.”

The cold, wet and windy weather over spring during flowering had a huge impact on yields, according to Halloran.

But fortunately the heat wave during January had little impact on the vineyards, with sufficient canopy to protect the fruit.

She said Chardonnay fared the best, averaging 5.8 tonnes per hectare.

“Pinot Noir has suffered greatly, and with only one block left to pick, we are averaging 3.4 tonnes per hectare,” she added.

“In volume terms, this means we will have less than half our usual crop of Pinot Noir.

“So now we wait for the others, and hope the weather remains kind to the vines until the last grapes are in the winery, which at this stage is looking like the end of March.”

With about one month of vintage left, only time will tell how it will wrap up for TarraWarra Estate.

However with Halloran at the helm, all signs are currently pointing toward impeccable quality.

She said it’s looking like vintage 2014 will again see TarraWarra Estate releasing a range of world class wines.