An “exceptional” South Australian wine vintage will soon be on its way to retail shelves.
- SA winemakers say they are having an excellent vintage and that wine will be high-quality
- Seasonal conditions in the Clare Valley are the best they’ve been in 10 years
- It’s welcome news for an industry that has faced challenges of huge tariffs in China
Winemakers picking grapes across the state say that quality is very high, and yield is high too thanks largely to favourable seasonal conditions.
It is welcome news for an industry that has struggled through Chinese tariffs and slowing domestic demand.
Peter Warr from Kilikanoon Wines said the mild conditions were good for the taste of the wine as well as yields.
“We’re getting really bright, rich, deep fruit flavours, and the winemakers really get to cherry pick when to pick the grapes to make the ideal optimised wine.”
Yalumba winemaker Louisa Rose said the Barossa Valley also experienced a mild, balmy season that had led to excellent grape production.
“These wines are going to be absolutely age-worthy, but I think even more importantly they’re going to be beautiful and approachable as young wines, and that’s where most of them are consumed and enjoyed,” Ms Rose said.
Prices drop due to China trade issues
SA Wine Industry Association president Nick Waterman said it was nice to see a good vintage but that there had been an undeniable impact on the industry because of trade issues.
“We’ve seen the price of red grapes in the Riverland — given that China was predominantly a red wine market for us — it’s gone from around $770 a tonne to $530 a tonne, whereas white grape prices have stayed around the same,” he said.
One hope is that cellar-door sales can partially offset the trade challenges, and there has been a lot of recent demand.
“Angaston is a pretty small town, but last school holidays you couldn’t get a park in the main street, which is just unheard of,” Mr Waterman said.
“Because of the space restrictions we saw, we had to change what we offered at cellar doors and make it more immersive.
“That actually saw the average spend per person visiting increase significantly.”
Favourable weather leads to good harvest
Milder weather conditions throughout the growing season provided an ideal vintage for Coonawarra in the state’s south-east.
Coonawarra Vignerons’ Association chairman Peter Balnaves said yields were above average and quality was looking good.
“Mild seasons that allow a lot of hang time on the vine allows good tannin and character development,” he said.
“Because of the mildness and also the dryness, there has been no reported issues with pests or diseases … it’s been a very relaxed growing season from that point of view.”
Meanwhile, Australia’s largest wine region in the north-east of SA is on track to deliver its biggest crop on record as growers harvest high volumes of wine grapes this year.
Riverland Wine general manager Jo Pippos said the grape quality was promising.
“There has been a slight delay in harvest this year due to weather conditions; it’s been a very mild year, with cooler nights, and that has stopped the ripening of the berries as much as we would have in a normal very hot year.”
Kilikanoon viticulturalist Troy van Dulken said yields had bounced back after several years of dry conditions.
“It’s been a hell of a lot better than the past couple years; cabernet-wise it’s the best it’s been in sometime, shiraz was close to average, and riesling was pretty disappointing this year,” he said.
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