2020 vintage outlook
Stuart Pym, 18 February 2020
Another season always brings much anticipation about what’s to come for the resulting wines. I’ve been spending a lot of time out in my Margaret River vineyards over the past few weeks preparing for vintage 2020. I’ve always been a big believer in the hard work happening in the vineyard, so it’s been really important to make sure that the small parcels of grapes I have are in prime condition before we pick and bring them into the winery.
This year, it’s been a good solid winter, with cold weather, but not too cold. That’s meant good dormancy in all varieties, and no frost, unlike the 2019 vintage. Plus, in contrast to other parts of Australia, there’s been ample – but not excessive – rainfall.
Spring came a little early, which brought about an early budburst across all varieties. The absence of the spring storms we can typically get in Margaret River meant this wasn’t a problem, with no damage to those young, delicate grapevine shoots.
The usual spring rainfall occurred. Overall, our rainfall was less than average, but still enough for most dams to fill, and for the water table to be full. As such, this should not be an issue for the grapevines.
There was some very sporadic hail at the end of October, with some southerly vineyards in the Karridale part of Margaret River severely affected, and some vignerons losing close to half their crops. This was not widespread, but if you were in the wrong place, you were not happy. Alas, my Karridale vineyard was hit, which means significantly lower crops on the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Expect small makes of these two for 2020, but the flavours will be intense.
Summer started with a very hot burst, but since then, it’s been a moderate growing season, with very little disease pressure, and all our vines look in good condition. Crops are average, so the quality should be fantastic.
It’s now mid February and we are harvesting our Chardonnay. Queen of the Earth is done, and now fermenting in barrel, and Flowstone Chardonnay being harvested tomorrow. I expect Sauvignon Blanc to be next week. We are definitely running early this year…and an early start means an early finish!!
So keep everything crossed that the weather gods remain kind to us, and you’ll soon be able to taste the fruits of my labour. I’ll keep you updated with how things progress here on the blog over harvest and via my Facebook and Instagram feeds, so be sure to stay tuned for my latest musings.