Winter 2005 was very warm – August being even more so than December! Not surprisingly, budburst was 2-3 weeks early but our fears regarding the frosts to follow did not eventuate. The conditions were largely conducive to strong growth although a cool windy period around flowering did impact on crop levels. January and February were hot, dry and rather windy, creating drought stress which our older vines coped with quite well and for most varieties this brought forward harvest even earlier than last year. Bird pressure on the crop became a problem due to the lack of food in the hills and this was felt particularly with Chardonnay (the earliest ripening) and Syrah which was the last to come in and probably the last in the whole of Martinborough. Harvest commenced mid-March with good conditions, there was sporadic rain later on but this was fortuitously separated from our harvest dates and did not appear to affect fruit quality. Overall the crop was about 30% down on 'normal' (I am not sure what that word means nowadays), largely due to small berries and light bunches which seem to have resulted in excellent concentrations as well as intense colours for the reds.