It’s always a super busy time of year with early starts, late nights, and long days but as the saying goes ‘vintage opportunities only come around once a year.’
It’s been a cooler than average vintage to date with significant rainfall across the growing season which has posed a few challenges in the vineyard and winery. Quality across the board though has been exceptional.
As we move through April winemakers turn their attention from reds to the delicious, fortified grape varieties which are hand-crafted to produce world renowned styles like Rutherglen Muscat, Rutherglen Tawny, and Rutherglen Topaque.
Here’s the latest from a few of our wineries.
This year’s reds and fortified grapes have produced some excellent flavours and colours that has Morris Wines Chief Winemaker David Morris quietly excited about the potential of the wines.
The 2022 vintage went against the trend with early bud burst, flowering and harvest with vintage starting later than average. Late Spring and early Summer were wet and cool resulting in disease pressures impacting to different degrees across the vineyard for early ripening varieties, but also some excellent quality parcels of fruit such as Durif and Muscat.
With the cooler temperatures and good rainfall combined, the grapes should retain more acid and be a little more elegant and have fruit vibrancy.
Vintage has been progressing well at Buller Wines says Chief Winemaker Dave Whyte with the whites all harvested and fermenting away in the winery. Overall quality has been exceptional though there have been a few blocks affected by disease which is to be expected given the wet summer conditions.
The final parcels of reds are being harvested with the quality Sangiovese and Durif of particular note.
This year saw increase tank capacity with the installation of four 40,000L tanks which enabled the winemaking team to get in front of rain events by having the ability to receive greater volumes of fruit into the winery at once, which alleviated potential quality issues in the vineyard.
It’s been a long and draw out vintage according to Jones Winery & Vineyard Chief Winemaker Mandy Jones, interrupted by rain events and cooler conditions.
The upside? Greater freshness, fruit vibrancy and elegant flavour profiles. Quality is high across all the estate-grown fruit parcels.
The last of the reds – Shiraz – was harvested last week and looks outstanding. As does Durif and Malbec.
Ongoing rain events have been a challenge. It’s been a vintage unlike another in recent memory, almost reminiscent of Bordeaux where vintage conditions are notoriously unpredictable.
This has meant additional time in the vineyard to avoid the risk of disease, with canopy management practices such as side trimming aiding airflow through the vines.
At Pfeiffer Wines, vintage 2022 has progressed quickly but in an a-typical way with the normal expectations of fruit ripening order, out the window.
Rain events during Spring were welcome but not throughout the Summer which has posed several challenges in terms of disease pressure and grapes splitting resulting in some fruit unable to be harvested, and subsequently dropped to the ground. This gets ploughed into the soil, but it is expensive compost!
Consequently, volumes of fruit are less, and ripening has happened more quickly than expected due to diminished tonnage.
Red varieties are now mostly into the winery and with hand picking of Gamay and very old and low trellised Pinot Noir vines always a highlight. There is still a long way to go with the rest of the reds and the delicious, fortified grape varieties like Rutherglen Muscat.