2019 Australian Vintage Report

Tasmania

Northern Tasmania

2019 Vintage in Northern Tasmania will be a benchmark for many producers. Good rains in December, then long dry periods through to harvest, will shape the flavours and quality. While those dry periods worked against yields, other factors favoured yield, including generally good weather through flowering, and low incidence of pest pressures. Temperatures were consistently warm. Those who expect quality and diversity in true representation of terroir need not fear disappointment.

Harry Rigney, The Ridge North Lilydale

Southern Tasmania

A warm, dry start to the growing season with September and October rainfall well below average, and maximum temperatures generally above average. This was followed by warm dry conditions through summer with some areas of the south receiving their warmest summer on record. February saw some reprieve from the heat with a touch of rain to freshen up canopies. The cooler February was wonderful with all varieties retaining lots of natural acid. The wines are showing great energy and tension and look to have all the elements there for the long haul. Certainly a vintage we are rating highly at Pooley Wines.

David Hansen and Anna Pooley, Pooley Wines

Victoria

Geelong

Good rains in winter and spring set the scene for a strong vintage providing plenty of water reserves for the vines. Budburst occurred at a ‘normal’ time for the region with all developmental stages following suit. A good rain event in December provided reason to maintain the optimism rolling into the Christmas period. Alas, that was the last of the rain for the season with a miserly 20mm total for the next four months placing vignerons under intense pressure. Harvest kicked off mid to late February for sparkling base then continued to be fast and furious for the next four weeks easing up mid to late March. Lack of available water resulted in early ripening and modest crops for some. Those with adequate water were able to nurse the vines through some intense heat late February, early March providing fruit with intensity and structure. A strong vintage to be sure with some outstanding chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz. Wines in oak and tank look vibrant and structured with likely long futures compared with ethereal 2018s now in bottle. Intriguing!

Darren Burke, Wine Geelong

Mornington Peninsula

With diverse micro climates across the Mornington Peninsula, we have once again experienced some variability in conditions leading up to and during vintage 2019. In lower altitude, easterly and more northerly vineyards, excellent fruit set was experienced though with slightly below average berry and bunch weights. At higher altitudes and more southerly vineyards, there were some periods of rain at flowering which may have slightly diminished fruit set and crop levels. Nonetheless, with little disease pressure, the quality of fruit at harvest was universally excellent but a burst of warmth in late February saw an earlier than average start and then intense and maybe even frenetic activity to get fruit picked in a timely way. The milder weather that followed saw a sudden pause in progress, particularly “up the hill”. Overall, the season was very compressed but yielded delicious quality, comparable to the exceptional 2018 though with lower quantities harvested. Early impressions of the resulting wines trigger a sense of contentment and then smiles!

George Mihaly, Paradigm Hill

Yarra Valley

A warm and dry season, and good rainfall in December helped carry the vines through January and over the early heat. The season was characterised by intermittent heat spikes followed by cool changes. February saw the vines slow down, with slow flavour development. Towards the latter third of the month the fruit was just ready to harvest. We were then hit with a week of temperatures over 35°C, which brought everything on and ready at the same time. Picking was frantic, trying to get all the fruit picked at the same time in good condition and optimum ripeness. It was a short, challenging vintage, the winery filled quickly and space was tight. However the wines are looking good at this early stage.

Clare Halloran, TarraWarra Estate

Western Australia

Margaret River

The 2019 vintage will be remembered for the cool conditions from budburst which continued over the ripening period. Some unseasonal humidity, light rain and no wind provided challenges for all vineyards. Those who put the work in got through with minimal disease. I am really impressed with the flavour and acid profile in the chardonnays and sauvignon blancs which are intense in flavour and acid with similarities to 2017. Our Margaret River Shiraz is unusually white pepper driven, again similar to 2017. We sacrificed quantity for quality, in dropping excess fruit on the ground, and have been rewarded with perfumed, fruit forward, elegant wines.

Luke Jolliffe, Stella Bella Wines

Swan Valley

The 2019 vintage will rank amongst the very best. A mild season with respect to temperature, importantly without any extreme heat events, meant that conditions were ideal for producing high quality table wines and fortifieds across the region. A key point was the very dry summer with only 17mm of rainfall recorded between November and March. Vineyards that were well managed and on the best soils – which enable vines to tolerate dry conditions – will produce exceptional wines with the highlights likely the region's key white varieties, chenin blanc and verdelho.

Robert Mann, Corymbia Wine