From a grape-grower’s perspective these warm, dry days are a perfect, poetic finish to an excellent growing season.
Will 2017 be as good a vintage as 2016 and 2015? Time will tell and if these conditions persist it will be a close run thing.
At the lower vineyards of the region harvest for sparkling will get under way next week and then Chardonnay and Pinot Gris for dry table wine following in two-to-three weeks.
At the higher parts, fruit for sparkling wine will start coming in late February. Fruit quality is looking very good with the wet winter and warm growing season giving very good vine development. Grape quality and quantity are both looking above average.
Across the region the later red varieties Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc look to be a few weeks behind last vintage, making 2017 like a typical vintage of ten years ago.
The warm weather has brought on veraison, the colour change and softening of berries quite quickly in the red varieties.
Cabernet Sauvignon works well in these warm growing seasons, so expect the 2017 vintage to produce some top notch wines. Shiraz is also looking good, with moderate crops and the usual excellent berry colour.
And don’t miss the Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival in the coming weeks. Check out www.banjopatersonfestival.com.au for all the details.
Happy vintage #V17.