2019 Vintage update March 2019

We would love to hear from members in every region, send an update from your region to Chris at [email protected]

Barossa

With Barossa’s 2019 harvest over the mid-way point, indications are wines from Barossa’s 2019 vintage will be of very high quality but limited supply.

With a very dry winter and spring; frost events on 29 September and 8 November which disrupted bud burst and flowering; a hail storm hitting some vineyards on 22 November, and hot, dry conditions in January and February, 2019 will be the lowest-yielding Barossa harvest of the past decade.

The lower yields will result in Barossa Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon with great colour, intense flavours and firm tannin structure. Grenache and Mataro, most yet to be picked, are shaping up to be 2019 vintage standouts.

On most soil types, vineyards irrigated in winter, particularly following rainfall events have retained better soil moisture and healthier crops than those irrigated later in the season. Data from Barossa Grape & Wine Association’s “demonstration vineyards” project shows vineyards with mulch under-vine and mid-row swards are retaining cooler soil temperatures, less evaporation, more consistent ripening of fruit and higher bunch weights, compared with vines grown in bare soil.

As at 13 March, most Barossa Valley Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Eden Valley Riesling had been harvested, with Grenache, Mataro, and Eden Valley Shiraz due to be picked in the next two to three weeks.

The lack of rainfall means Barossa’s vineyards have not experienced any disease pressure this season.

This report courtesy of Nicki Robins, BGWA’s viticultural development officer

Coonawarra

As per normal, vintage in Coonawarra is a couple of weeks later than many other regions in South Australia.

Most vineyards are well through picking whites with some already started on early Shiraz.

Maturation across red varieties, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon if progressing well  which may be a logical headache for winery scheduling.

Heat waves have not been as severe in Coonawarra as elsewhere. In January we had 2 days over 38C, in Febuary 1 days over 38C and thus far in March 2 days over 38C. these weather events have been were well spread out so minimal damage has been observed from these hot days.

Most growers are reporting moderate crop levels with high quality so far.

Chris Bodie

  Tasmania

At the time of writing the Tasmanian Vintage is roughly 25% complete.  Things are off to a rapid and exciting start with sparkling Chardonnay and Pinot Noir showing early flavour development along with good acid levels.

Harvesting of Pinot Noir for table wine has commenced in earlier-ripening subregions, with the fruit showing strong colour and flavour concentration. The real highlight to date is the fruit purity and condition, along with consistency of ripening.  There is a nice spectrum of ripeness allowing a relatively orderly harvest schedule. The lack of rainfall has resulted in very low disease pressure which is also helping in this regard.

Yields to date to be have been consistently favourable, with some areas (e.g. Tamar Valley) showing above-average yields. When coupled with the very high quality seen to date, the 2019 vintage is shaping to be an outstanding one in Tasmania.

Brett McClen