The Ballarat climate is distinctly cool. Precisely how cool can be expressed by a calculation that describes how much heat is accumulated over a growing season for a grape vine - this expression is known as Heat Degree Days (HDD). The figure for Ballarat is about 1100 HDD and equates to the climate for Hobart and Champagne in France. A saving feature of this cool climate is a large number of sunshine hours (similar to Launceston and Portland Oregon), a more detailed explanation can be found at the Ballarat Wineries website.

 

Bended Knee Vineyard is located at an altitude of 570m, this in combination with the constraints of the local climate determines cool growing conditions for grapes. These cool growing conditions have a direct impact on ensuring the grapes retain higher levels of natural acidity, which in turn contributes to the structure of the wines. In addition, the delicate flavours of Pinot Noir demand a cool  climate without extremes of temperature. The Ballarat region delivers a gentle, prolonged ripening period - with average maximum temperatures of 25°C or below for this critical ripening period.

 

Ballarat is so cool, that grapes are harvested well after some areas have finished fermenting their wines! Due to the elevation, Bended Knee Vineyard is almost always the last vineyard to harvest in the Ballarat region; typically this is early to mid May.

Cool Climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Bended Knee Vineyard

The Climate