2019 Australian Vintage Report

New South Wales

Mudgee

Vintage began with a very dry winter and spring, creating a challenging start to the season. Additional irrigation was required to help support the vine growth and fruit development. Some January rain helped ease the load and brought some moisture into the soil profile. Harvest kicked off in early February with the whites, and then the reds slowly started to trickle in shortly after, with later ripening reds harvested in early- to mid-March. Overall, lower yields provided the vine with a balanced crop showing great flavour and concentration with well-balanced tannins. Quality is there across the board!

Will Gilbert, Gilbert Family Wines

RIVERINA

Quality is solid, reds in particular are vibrant and flavoursome. There was little rain during winter, while spring rain was slightly higher than average; our region is still very much in a drought. Extreme heat during January meant some whites were harvested slightly early, the resulting wines are more refined and subtle than in previous years. Harvest of reds commenced in early February. Overall yields are down and quality is high – Durif is a highlight. As a region the Riverina crushed in excess of 310,000 tonnes.

Emma Norbiato, Calabria Family Wines

South Australia

Clare Valley

The Clare vintage commenced in mid February with riesling being harvested from both the Northern and Southern ends of the valley. Reports of below-average crops were the norm due to poor set at flowering and the subsequent dry conditions experienced in all subregions. The suitability and resilience of the riesling grape was again tested with this region’s most important variety faring better than others grown here. While still very early, the best wines appear to be of very good quality displaying classic citrus characters with good levels of acidity. The reds are full and robust but volumes are down significantly.

Neil Pike, Pikes Wines

Coonawarra

2019 has been a very good season for Coonawarra. Above average rainfall in winter meant full soil profiles, a landscape with swamps full of water, bird life and frogs. Spring was mild with continued rain and cloud cover. Wet and windy weather at fruit set reduced the need for crop thinning cabernet while shiraz, merlot and other varieties set in ideal conditions. Vines went into summer with good canopy health. A very dry and warm summer, yet cool nights finished off an ideal season with no disease pressure, great colour, tannins and natural acid.

Sue Bell, Bellwether Wines

Victoria

Heathcote

A dry winter led into an early spring with good rainfall over the period up until the new year. January and February were hot and dry and warmer than average. The vintage was fast paced with an extended hot spell during late February and March accelerating ripening. Those who were out early got the best results. Reds, including shiraz, performed well with the overall quality being good to very good, all dependent on picking times and capturing the fruit at the right moment. A true vigneron’s vintage.

Tom Carson, Heathcote Estate

Rutherglen

After a cool and dry winter, budburst was later in the Rutherglen region than in previous years. This was then followed by a mild and dry October and November, and yields throughout the region’s vineyards looked slightly lighter than average, however the positive sign was the fruit load on the vines looked balanced. During December, the season warmed significantly with no significant respite until the end of January. Surprisingly, vintage began on average at the start of February, just as a cool spell hit, allowing for some much-needed relief – the grapes developed their flavours much more slowly than had been expected. I am pleased to report the quality is universally high across the varieties.

Damien Cofield, Viticulture Representative, Winemakers of Rutherglen