Vintage 2014 Wrap Up Report
Tue, 06 May 2014
Well folks, vintage is now officially finished for 2014! The wines we’re crafting from this year’s harvest will start to make their way into the marketplace from around July this year. Hard to believe that the gorgeous glass of Clare Valley Riesling you might be sipping in spring this year came from grapes that were still hanging on the vine less than 6 months earlier! Of course this is the case only with the unwooded aromatic white varieties. The voluptuous Chardonnays and full-bodied reds you will have to wait a little longer for; we like to keep them tucked up nice and warm in our barrel hall for maturation.
This vintage was a rather drawn out affair – mainly due to the up and down weather conditions. We started picking grapes in early February and the weather was quite warm but around Valentine’s Day it turned on us and we were drenched with rain. Significant falls occurred from Thursday 13th February through to Saturday with flash flooding occurring through the district on Friday afternoon during the heaviest falls – not a lot of Valentine’s Day love felt for Mother Nature that day! The weather improved after that but remained quite mild which slowed the ripening process quite significantly. Whilst this was quite frustrating for the vineyard team, who are always keen to pick before the weather has a chance to turn again, the winemakers were happy that the grapes were allowed to develop their unique flavours at a more moderate pace. If ripening occurs too quickly, the sugars develop ahead of the tannins and this often means that the end wines can be out of balance.
Through March we steadily continued the harvest, picking all of the white varieties on the Clare Valley estate and started to bring in the fruit from our grower partners in other regions across South Australia. One particular week saw us process around 12% of our total intake in a matter of 7 days! Our experienced teams who took this very intensive period in their stride, dealing with a whopping 452 tonnes of fruit received across a 30 hour period. One of the greatest advantages our winemakers have is the ability to quickly harvest and process fruit when it is in its optimal flavour development stage – not having this capacity at the winery could adversely affect the quality of the fruit coming in and ultimately, of course, the wine.
Harvest continued steadily into April with perfect, mild conditions prevailing until the third week when the weather in the Clare Valley turned decidedly cooler with the region receiving a couple of downpours. The rain meant that harvesting was halted for a couple of days but the vineyard team were quickly back into it once it stopped. The last fruit to came in was the Cabernet Sauvignon on the 30th April 2014. By this time all of the white wines had completed fermentation and most of the reds were into secondary fermentation. At this early stage, the winemakers are reporting that based on the quality of the fruit harvested, they expect the wines from 2014 to be worthy successors of the excellent 2012 and 2013 vintages – good news indeed!