Saturday, April 21, 2007

Vintage Report 2007

This vintage has been a real challenge for all growers in the Barossa Valley. We started the growing season with record low winter rainfall - in fact the whole country has been severely affected by drought. As is usually the case, after a very dry spring, frost is a major risk to us. On Sat. 21st of Oct. while most of our vines were still flowering we had a very short frost event (less than one hour). We still do not know how much crop we lost to this frost - most visible damage was to our growing tips.

In the middle of Jan. we had just over a week of heavy rain which caused severe splitting in some varieties, worst affected appeared to be Shiraz.

Harvest was the earliest this year we have ever had. We started picking Sauvinion Blanc on the 23rd Jan this is 8 days earlier than we have ever picked before. Most blocks were picked 2 -4 weeks earlier than usual. We finished our smallest vintage ever with our Grenache on 26th March. We harvested just 37% of what we picked in 2006. Some of our worst blocks only produced 10% of last years crop. The one positive from the low crops was that we had no problem selling all of our grapes - last year we had to pick some of our crop on to the ground.

Wine quality appears to be fairly variable despite very low cropping levels. There will be some very good wines produced out of the Barossa this year, but I fear there will also be some only average wines produced. This year cropping level does not appear to have been a good indicator of grape quality. The photos I have included show frost damage to Shiraz growing tips 3 days after the frost, and splitting also in Shiraz about 4 days after the rain that caused it.

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