My 2021 vintage outlook for Margaret River

We are all pretty happy to move on from 2020, and thinking, bring on 2021! But there are few things to remember about the previous year – some very good wines have come from the 2020 vintage, so not all is bad, and a good part of the 2021 ripening season actually happens in 2020.

With all that in mind, how is the 2021 season shaping up?

Spring and early summer were quite mild with reasonable rainfall, but not extreme. Excellent growing conditions for the vines. Bud burst and flowering across all varieties was pretty much as per usual, so things were looking promising from very early on.

2021 brought a lovely and warm January, with virtually no rain, and the vines were growing strongly. Crops were good, but not excessive. This was certainly a relief for me after my tiny hail effected crops in 2020. Blossom in the trees were moderate, and there has been very little bird pressure, but the nets were still applied to the vines. All varieties happily commenced veraison.

February, however, started off very windy, and then on the 7th and 8th we received 78mm of rain followed by some light drizzles on the following days. The whites had certainly finished veraison, so all the berries were soft, and the reds were still mid veraison. This amount of rain at this time of the growing season gets us a little on edge. It really is a watch and see what happens. The reds will be fine and they will appreciate the drink, but the whites could develop some disease.

Early observations today show that the Chardonnay all looks very good, and Sauvignon Blanc is looking to be in good condition as well. It seems that the rain was a bit of a pick-me-up for the vines, but we do need a long spell of nice warm weather now. The weather people are indicating that is exactly what is going to happen.

So, at this stage, the 2021 vintage for Margaret River is looking to be a very good one, running pretty much on the normal timeframe, and the vines are in good condition. The extra bit of good news is that the Marri trees are just coming in to full blossom, so this should keep bird pressure down for a good long period.

So, bring on the 2021 vintage, which I think will start in about 2 weeks for Flowstone.