Blustery and wet conditions in October signaled an inauspicious start to the 2009 growing season. However, weather patterns stabilized in November with slightly above average warmth and average rainfall producing normal flowering.

Warm, dry conditions in early December pointed toward another stunning year as we saw one of our best ever fruitsets. In late December and early January we engaged in aggressive fruit thinning so the vines could focus their energy into lower-yield clusters that express the varietal typicity the vineyard at Destiny Bay provides. Stable warm temperatures, light breeze, and below average rainfall settled in for January and February. However, late February saw increased cloud burst weather events and challenged the staff to dodge downpours while they kept a vigilant watch on disease pressure. This was a sound reminder of why we don’t like to ‘Tempt the Gods’ by forecasting a “stunning” vintage until all the grapes are harvested.

The Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot blocks were picked in late March, though volume was down more than 40% from 2008. Fortunately, April marked a sudden return to warm, dry weather which allowed our Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blocks to achieve peak ripeness.

The 2009 vintage produced some incredible Cabernet fruit and the Merlot and Malbec exhibited remarkable structure and mouthfeel. Though not as challenging as 2007, the 2009 vintage served to remind us how fickle the weather can be and the value of being able to rapidly adapt to changing vineyard conditions.

At the first racking of 2009 wines it became clear that the attributes we demand in our wines were present in all the varieties and we would be able to release a full compliment of blends – albeit in smaller volumes than 2008.

Sean Spratt
Owner & Winemaker