Vintage 2018 Snapshot
It’s that time of year again when vineyards across Australia are packed with pickers, wineries are in full swing and eyes are cast skyward praying that mother nature plays nicely.
2018 looks set to be an amazing vintage, with the Hunter Valley, as usual, leading the charge with picking beginning around the 10th January – a week, if not two weeks, earlier than previous years.
“This early vintage is a result of one of the driest growing periods since the mid 2000s,” says Bruce Tyrrell of Tyrrell’s Wines. “We’ve had less than 150 millimetres of rain from Easter 2017 to early January.”
“With regards to the whites – Chardonnay, Verdelho and Semillon, there is not going to be anything light, green and delicate out of 2018,” he said. “The colour of the Shiraz is brilliant, the juice is in magic condition, and I think we’re going to look forward to some very good reds.”
Andrew Margan, of Margan Family Wines, who has just finished picking the last of his Broke Fordwich vineyards says “The red grapes that came in looked excellent in terms of flavour, colour and chemistry.”
While the picking action in the Hunter’s vineyards is coming to an end, in other regions things are just heating up with veraison (the onset of ripening) beginning, as Tom Ward from Swinging Bridge in Orange explains.
“We saw some veraison start in the first week of January for the vines at around 600m and on the early ripening whites,” he says. “Grape growing in Orange ranges from 600m to 1100m and you have to remember that for every 100m rise in elevation you see about 1˚C drop in temperature.”
“For the vineyards at 900m to 1100m, we’re just starting to see the first signs of veraison in whites and reds. Some early sparkling base has been harvested at the lower vineyards and we anticipate that on the higher sites we will not finish to the end of April! It really is a diverse region with some many different climates and soils.”
The word is that Barossa will be underway by the end of this month, and Coonawarra and Manjimup are not too far off.
Harvest is still some months off for some regions, so keep an eye on their progress – vintage really is a great time to visit.