Read all the latest winery news, awards & reviews and tips from the winemaker.
A season like no other, 2020 will be remembered for many reasons. A season in which we have had our hottest December days ever, our warmest nights since 2012 and our driest December since 2008. In fact, the total Summer rainfall was barely 13mm. However despite these conditions being thought of as less than ideal, we could not be happier with the overall quality of the wines from the vintage, when all this occurred in tandem with the absence of our two nemeses, bushfires and birds! We did though experience a low yielding crop.
One aspect we did expect in light of the conditions, was an early harvest, kicking off in January. Chardonnay was loaded with an abundance of hen and chicken and the realisation of lower yields, meaning earlier ripening. Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon soon followed and it was obvious at this point that whites were looking great. With stocks of our current Rosé running very low, the new vintage will get the fast train to bottling in May, look out for it as we think the wine is showing great aroma and texture.
With the last of the reds (Grenache) harvested on the 7th April, the quality has been pleasing with wines showing purity of fruit, bright and fresh flavours and deep, dark colours. There is a feeling amongst the team that the wines show great promise which we hope will be realised as we mature them in oak over the next 12 to 18 months.
The winemaking team are really pleased with the resultant wines, however with lots of bigger issues at play in the industry and country at the moment, we hope all of our members and partners in the retail industry stays well and safe.
Liquor Licensing Amendment - 27th March 2020
The State Government and the Director of Liquor Licensing were provided with information by Wines of WA outlining how the previous limit of 3 bottles per customer per day for online and mail order sales channels would have been unworkable for all WA wine producers.
Please see below the revised notice from the Director of Liquor Licensing providing an update for Producer’s Licence holders regarding intrastate online and mail-order sales, interstate online and mail-order sales, sales to wholesale licensees and international sales. These are detailed as follows:
- Intra-state online and mail-order: Sales to unlicensed individuals that will be delivered to a West Australian address will be limited to one 12 x 750 ML bottle carton (9 litres) per customer per week.
- Inter-state online and mail-order sales: Sales to unlicensed individuals that will be delivered to any state other than WA will have no limit on the quantity of wine that can be sold to a customer
- Sales to Wholesale Licensees: Sales to wholesale customers can be fulfilled as required
- International Sales: There are no limits on the quantity that can be sold to international customers
Winemakers in the region are raising a glass to celebrate a bumper crop of fruit this season.
A dry summer and warm spring has led to disease-free fruit ahead of schedule for St Aidan Wines.
Owner Mary Smith said the 2020 vintage wines would be fantastic.
“We started harvest nearly three weeks ago for sparkling wine,” she said. “We’re two to two and a half weeks early because of the warm spring.”
Mrs Smith also predicted, due to the red wine grapes’ development, the 2020 red wines St Aidan red wines would would be “fairly alcoholic reds”.
St Aidan Wines is expected to harvest between 20 and 25 tonnes of grapes this season.
“There has been no complications, it’s been a dream season,” Mrs Smith said.
Willow Bridge Estate winemaker Kim Horton said Bunbury’s December average temperature was 3C above average, which led to harvesting starting in January.
“This season we’re down on yield due to December’s heat, it was almost a heatwave,” he said.
“At that point it was a bit worrying, but since then, January was cooler and the fruit was really good quality.
“The blossoms on the marri trees have kept the birds off the vines, so we have no damage.”
Mr Horton said, based on other winemakers in the region he had spoken with, South West producers were doing really well this season.
He said he felt for producers in other States who had to deal with smoke and drought.
Capel Vale Winery lab assistant Zofja Urbanski said the winery’s harvest season started just after Australia Day.
“We source our grapes from as far as Mount Barker and Margaret River, as well as on site, and we have lower yields but a more intense fruit,” she said.
“The cabernet in Margaret River will be the last we pick and that will be around Easter.
“We believe it’s going to be a really good vintage, we’re getting really good juice from the fruit.”