Pickers have been deployed to De Salis Wines to perform a labour of love since Valentine's Day, with the first grapes coming to fruition last week.
A group of 14 from Orange, Germany and France began the harvest which will continue on the Mount Canobolas property until mid April, bringing in 200 tonnes of grapes by the time it is done.
The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varietals will be the first to leave the vine, with the Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes the last to come full flavour in April. All things going to plan, the crop should shield 130,000 bottles of white, red and sparkling wines - with the first appearing on shelves in two to three years and the bubbles available in five.
Winemaker, vigneron and owner Charlie Svenson said last year they lost all the fruit on two vineyards in the Mount Canobolas fires, but this year it looks like a fabulous crop.
"We've been very lucky on the mountain we've had well spaced rainfall," he said "We've been able to go through the whole season without irrigation."
For the vineyards at lower altitude, Orange Region Vignerons Association president Nicole Samodol said the early indication was yields had been reduced this year after a cool spring and rain during fruit set.
"The drought has some impact but it is more the combination of weather factors that has affected yields. In some cases this has been a positive for fruit quality, especially for those varietals that benefit from smaller berry size," she said.
Mrs Samodol said some wine from this harvest will be on the shelf as early as July, with Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc released earlier.
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