The 2010 season began very early. The hottest August on record was followed by a warm and dry September making budburst two weeks early, amidst thoughts of a “global warming” vintage. However, October turned out to be the coldest on record and, with greater than usual rainfall, led to a slowing down of vine growth and reduced bunch numbers on some varieties. By early January many of our vineyards were dry enough to require irrigation. This drying of vineyard soils by midsummer is crucial for red vineyards in particular as it leads to good ripening and concentration.