Grape harvesting in the McLaren Vale wine region is progressing very well. The harvest is running earlier than average, following on the trend first seen by an early grapevine bud burst and flowering last spring.
|Above - Vintage picture from Patritti Wines. Shiraz spilling over the truck side.|
At the end of February, most white grapes varieties and approximately half of the Shiraz crop has been picked, with some early Grenache also being taken into wineries.
Summer has been warm, but vineyards have been spared the trials of extended heat waves. The weather has been ideal for ripening except for some sites being exposed to high strength gully winds. While wind damage has left these vineyards looking a little rough round the edges, fruit quality has been unaffected.
Widespread rain in the last 24 hours is expected to hold up harvest until conditions have dried out. Hopefully this will not cause widespread berry splitting, or promote late season bunch botrytis.
Winemakers reports so far have been glowing. Bryn Richards from Chapel Hill says, "We harvested our first Grenache block on Saturday and it is sensational. Small berries, thick skins, berries and spice."
Of course winemaking is always subject to the weather and it is possible something could change between now and when the last grape load goes into the crusher. However, story so far is a great year for all varieties in 2012 which will strengthen McLaren Vale’s reputation as one of the world’s great wine regions.