A LACK of rain has not been all bad news for the region’s vignerons with an intense flavour expected for the 2014 vintage.
Charles Sturt University wine maker Justin Byrne said the dry weather had produced smaller sized grapes but the smaller the grape, the higher the intensity of flavour.
“It’s been warmer so that will mean smaller berry sizes...there is more skin to pulp which gives it slightly more intensity,” he said.
It was good news for cabernet sauvignon and shiraz drinkers but sauvignon blanc had not fared as well.
Vignerons are expecting a smaller yield for sauvignon blanc this season but not enough to cause a dramatic shortage, Mr Byrne said.
Just 36.1 millilitres of rain has been recorded at Orange Agricultural Institute last month, a month that usually records 86.5mm on average.
The average daily January temperature was around two degrees hotter than the long-term average of 26.6 degrees.
Minimum temperatures however hovered around the long-term average of 13.3 degrees.
Orange Region Vignerons Association executive James Sweetapple said growers had struggled through the heat but those who could pump water had been spared devastation.
“We’d love another two inches now in a downpour,” he said.
“A perfect year would be a wet spring with short bursts of rainfall through until Christmas and then dry for the flowering season.
“But that’s in an ideal world and you never get that.”
Weatherzone meteorologist Kim Westcott said January had been the eighth driest January in 47 years of recorded history.
Mr Byrne said the harvest was about three weeks away and his fingers were crossed this season will be “exceptional”.