Windows Estate in Margaret River, photography by Freedom Garvey.

New South Wales

HUNTER VALLEY

The summer months started off well with a cool Christmas and New Year. This is perfect for allowing the fruit to ripen slowly and develop good flavour. However, the cool spring meant that bud burst, flowering and fruit set were all delayed. Since vintage kicked off in early January there has been a lot of frenzied activity in order to have fruit harvested as quickly as possible. Unfortunately there is a choice that must be made: to take the fruit before heavy rain sets in or risk allowing the fruit to develop to its ultimate potential by staying on the vine. It has been a long, slow and tedious vintage for many. Those who are bringing in fruit from other wine areas are still finishing ferments and some still processing fruit. Whilst some vineyards suffered due to La Niña, not all was lost. There has been some exceptional white wines. Due to skill and commitment, our Hunter viticulturists really come into their own in years like 2022.

Savannah Peterson, Savannah Estate

SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS

Vintage 2022 has been considered the toughest on record, with most vineyards in the Highlands experiencing a total crop loss. Ample moisture in the ground over winter and spring saw a promising start, but relentless rain and strong winds at the critical flowering stage saw poor fruit set, particularly amongst the region’s hero variety, pinot noir. Constant rain and a full water table made it hard to meet required spraying intervals. Many times tractors just couldn’t get into the vineyards for fear of getting bogged or damaging root systems with compaction. The lack of any heat over summer in a high-altitude, cool-climate region means that sugar levels in the grapes never reached maturity. For those that endured the 1,000mm of rain from January to April, a small portion of grapes were picked for sparkling base and for spirit production. Bring on 2023 ...

Michael Archer, Dawning Day Wines

Victoria

MORNINGTON PENINSULA

The season began with average rainfall, and good wet conditions through winter, maintaining good soil moisture. Bud burst kicked off well, with good, even growth. Things were set up well but we got a lot of cold fronts through spring, which was really detrimental during November and December when we were flowering. It wasn’t all bad news; some vineyards that were flowering in good weather faired well. As a result, crops are way down, probably not as bad as 2014, but there is not a lot. The one upside is that we had some warm periods on and off through summer, to get some good concentration and extraction in the reds. So far, what’s been in the winery has been incredibly concentrated and powerful, balanced, with amazing acidity. The wines will be amazing, however, there’s going to be bugger all of them.

Sam Coverdale, Polperro

BEECHWORTH

Vintage ’22 remained very cool into late spring with most nights below 5 degrees and rain often forecast – a difficult time of year for mildew management. Wild tropical weather late October was followed by a cold snap, producing an indiscriminate frost across most vineyards with varying yield losses. Blue skies and high-20s temperatures were welcomed in February, as harvest tentatively began for some in early March. Overall, sugar accumulation has been sloth-like with the cooler vintage, particularly for those with late-harvest varieties. Meanwhile, labour shortages made autumn picking an art form. Overall a difficult season, but one that rewards good vineyard management. In the end, fruit quality – with higher acids (particularly for whites), stunning colour and intense fruit flavours – has been heart-warming, much to the relief of many.

Raquel Jones, Weathercraft Wines

Tasmania

COAL RIVER VALLEY

Following average winter rain, spring was the wettest for 10 years, and regular rainfall continued through December and January. While wet conditions are conducive to higher disease pressure, it also encourages healthy vine growth and fruit development, and supports growth through the warmer period of the year. Vintage 2022 was the coolest we have experienced since acquiring the vineyard. Cool conditions, especially around the time of flowering, resulted in hen and chicken (millerandage), giving a combination of small and normal size berries and lighter bunches, keeping yields low. In addition, cooler conditions right through the growing season allowed the retention of natural acid, synonymous with Tolpuddle Vineyard fruit. The latter part of the season leading into harvest was dry for south-eastern Tasmania, and perfect for harvest, allowing us to slowly pick fruit at its optimum maturity.

David LeMire, Tolpuddle Vineyard

South Australia

ADELAIDE HILLS

Another exceptional vintage on the back of one of the best ever in 2021. We had a relatively wet start to the season with decent rainfall in winter and full soil moisture profiles in spring. There were some varieties that were affected by windy, rainy conditions during flowering, however, we ended up with solid yields and great quality. We experienced a very dry and mild summer, leading to a long ripening period for flavour development while maintaining great natural acidity. Look out for some beautiful wines coming from the Adelaide Hills in 2022.

Tom Northcott, Howard Vineyard

Howard Vineyard.

RIVERLAND

Coming off a bumper crop in 2021, we knew that yields from 2022 were going to be down. This was exacerbated by a cool spring, which produced a patchy set, particularly in heat-loving Italian varieties like nero d’Avola and montepulciano, then hailstorms caused significant damage. Despite this, the mild summer temperatures, abundant sunshine and lack of rainfall created a perfect harvest season – steady ripening across whites and reds aided fruit intensity and flavour development, while cool nights meant acids remained intact. While yields are down, quality is exceptional, with some fantastic wines in the works.

Con-Greg Grigoriou, Deliquente Wine Co

Queensland

GRANITE BELT

Previous vintages were affected by drought, a black frost or two and hail. The 2022 vintage was a different beast to contend with due to the amount of rain received in the district throughout the entire cycle. Whilst 2022 was our largest yield ever, our wits, patience and spray program were continually challenged as disease pressure was high from flowering to harvest. The cool, overcast days helped the fruit retain good pH and acid levels as it started to ripen. Apart from the poor fruit set in the verdelho, we are incredibly happy with the whites. All six were harvested in the same week with flavours and pH being sound. The reds also received a slow ripening period with the constant rainfall challenging us throughout. Tempranillo fruit set was poor compared to previous years. However, our shiraz yield was our largest, with the merlot and cabernet a touch down compared to 2021. 

Ian Dopson, Tobin Wines

Western Australia

MARGARET RIVER

2022 in Margaret River was nothing short of exceptional. Following one of the wettest winters in many years and a mild spring, summer bloomed with warm dry weather that continued right through, resulting in a near perfect growing season with no disease pressure. Flowering and fruit set were excellent resulting in higher crops than the preceding few vintages. It was a welcome change that can also be attributed to the birds’ attention being drawn from the vineyards by the abundant marri blossom, which began prior to the white harvest and continued until almost all of the reds were off. With the ferments ticking away, the excellence of this vintage becomes evident. Wines will be characterised by intense aromatics, opulent fruit, structure, depth and good natural acidity. A stunning vintage.

Joanne Davies, Windows Estate