McLaren Vale – vintage report 2013
A successful vintage completed earlier than expected
The 2013 vintage finished earlier than expected in McLaren Vale.
The season was successful with no rain interrupting the quick harvest. Harvesting grapes was completed by the end of March and with all of the fruit safely into wineries by Easter the industry was grateful for a holiday break.
Chardonnay was harvested from the middle of February with shiraz beginning at the end of February. By the first week of March a large percentage of the district had already been harvested.
Harvested yields were 10-30% down from what was expected.
As well as being dry, there was effectively no rainfall for three months from December; it was also notable for being a warm summer.
In the background it was officially announced to be the warmest summer experienced in Australia since records began and this explains the rapid ripening seen locally.
The weather presented some challenges, but also had some advantages. Disease levels were the lowest for many years and fruit was very clean.
Demand for McLaren Vale fruit was high, due to low crops which are typical in dry seasons, but also because of the regions reputation for consistent quality.
Winery demand was led by the classic red grape varieties shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. There was also interest in grenache and mourvèdre which are varieties that suited by warm and dry weather.
The average prices for McLaren Vale fruit is expected to increase in response to this demand when final tallies are calculated.
The McLaren Vale vintage was light in crop, but of very good quality.
Grape bonus payments based on that quality will help make up for some shortfalls in grape growers returns from lower than expected tonnages.
At this early stage wine quality is looking very promising with the reds having excellent colour and flavor.
The rapid and early harvesting tested many winemakers experience in juggling which vineyards to pick immediately and which grapes to keep on the vine to improve. When picked just right, the results will rank highly compared against previous vintages that have earned McLaren Vale its reputation.
Report prepared by James Hook, Editor McLaren Vale Crop Watch
- McLaren Vale (SA)
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