South Australia’s tough 2019 vintage

Winemakers in the Clare Valley, Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale report that it’s been a tough vintage. (Photo: Pxhere)

With the harvest drawing to a close in South Australia, it’s evident that 2019 has not been a great year – at least not in the hotter regions. Winemakers in the Clare Valley, Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale report that it’s been a tough vintage: early and condensed with seriously reduced yields mainly due to heat and water stress.

In the Barossa, some are saying the vintage is the lowest in a decade and could be down by as much as 50% from last year.

In the Barossa, some are saying the vintage is the lowest in a decade and could be down by as much as 50% from last year. Frost and hail damage early in the season did a lot of harm. In Clare and the Riverland, water for irrigation was inadequate to keep some growers’ vines healthy.

Coonawarra is one South Australian region not complaining, as it avoided the worst of the heat and there was sporadic rain during the ripening period and harvest, but not enough to do harm.

According to Coonawarra Vignerons, the region received good winter rains leading into the growing season, although this season had highlighted the importance of access to plentiful high-quality underground water for mitigation of heat and drought.

“There has been no significant crop loss due to heat, and canopies remain in excellent condition; significantly benefiting from the typically cool nights created by the Southern Ocean. The quality is looking promising.”

Regions north of Coonawarra have all been impacted by the record-hot summer, which saw Adelaide recording 46.6 degrees Celsius on January 24.


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