Vintage 2014 in the Barossa and Eden Valleys (SA)
People and grapes thriving under challenge
Contributed articles and stories
Louisa Rose, Head of Winemaking at The Yalumba Wine Company reports that vintage 2014 will go down as a testament to the ability of both grapes and people to thrive under challenge.
Grape growers and viticulturists have done an amazing job looking after the vineyards, as Mother Nature threw a few curve balls. Even late in the season vines were green, fresh and healthy, ripening the late varieties well into autumn.
Good winter and early spring rains filled the soils and set the vines up well for the season. July to September rainfall was 20% (EV 36%) above average. A windy spring meant some varieties set unevenly with potentially poor yields, and then in November with vines full-growth and flowering underway unseasonal frost events resulted in almost complete loss of fruit for some vineyards.
Late spring and summer were dry and warm at least during the days, with significant heat records being set. September was over 2°C above both average minimum and maximum temperature, and January’s maximum temperature was 2°C warmer than average, however the night temperatures were not.
After an average September rainfall, October had only 56% (EV 85%) and November 11% (EV 24%) of average rainfall. Along with the dry, November had particularly cold nights (2°C lower than average) leading to the multiple frost events mentioned above.
On 17 January a north wind flared up a fire (caused by lightning strike three days earlier) two kilometres west of the town of Eden Valley. It came very close to Keyneton and then Truro, but was eventually controlled by about 200 CFS units and water bombing aircraft. The fire was to the east of the vineyards and wineries of the Eden and Barossa Valleys, which escaped both immediate damage and smoke taint.
By the last week of January, harvest on the Barossa Valley floor had started with white varieties, and the first week of February saw picking of the first reds. But on Valentine’s Day the season changed, and 100-150mm of rain fell in just over 24 hours. This and the following cool weather caused the rush of the early vintage to slow down and the rest of vintage progressed at an almost leisurely pace. Harvest in the Eden Valley was underway by the end of February.
At the time of this report (1 April) the late red sites and varieties such as Mataro are still to be picked, and harvest is likely to continue until after Easter.
At this early stage quality is looking very good, with generally lower than average crops. Reds are rich and varietal, with dense colours, and a line that suggests they will be very age worthy.
- Barossa (including Eden Valley) (SA)
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