Vintage 2024 Update
With the first few parcels of Margaret River fruit having just been picked in the last few days, we speak to Chief Winemaker Julian Langworthy on his thoughts for vintage 2024.
Margaret River, Western Australia
Vintage 2024 has had an early start this year across the board in WA, with fruit being brought into the winery a few weeks early compared to previous years.
The primary reason is how dry and warm it has been. While it hasn’t been ridiculously hot, it has been consistently warm with very little rain, in fact barely 5mm since October, significantly less than average. This has meant that vintage is earlier than usual, however I am out in the vineyard most days checking fruit ripeness and the quality is looking great.
The weather has started to mellow out now with cooler nights and sunny, warm days which means picking is happening at ideal temperatures. Overall, V24 is looking epic! Exciting times to come as it's full steam ahead in the winery for the next few months.
Swan Valley, Western Australia
Although the rest of Australia is gearing up for harvest, we have actually already nearly finished in the Swan this year! A longer, wetter spring meant that we have some really healthy vine canopies and fruit yields. The Swan Valley really gets the sunshine on its vines and so a thicker canopy is crucial to prevent sunburn on the delicate berries. Those dry, warm days over summer we have all enjoyed have also allowed fruit to ripen on the vine with most of the Chenin Blanc being harvested this month already. Some epic looking Chenin out there - super tasty stuff!
Perth Hills, Western Australia
The Perth Hills is looking pretty similar to the Swan Valley, just about 10 days behind! We will likely start handpicking the Millbrook Viognier, Shiraz and Petit Verdot in a week or two and I expect some of our head office crew are getting excited to get out of the city and help us pick like last year...
Pemberton, Western Australia
The Smithbrook vineyard is looking seriously good this year. We have had more rain here compared to the rest of WA, but the warm summer has really helped get our fruit going. Again, harvest is expected to be a bit earlier than usual but that's a good thing for this area meaning all the fruit will be ripe and ready for picking!
We are expecting a later than usual harvest in the Pyrenees this year. Spring and early summer brought a lot of rain and the vineyards are looking super lush and healthy right now. Vine canopies are flourishing and there was really great fruit set earlier in the year, so yields are looking good.
I recently took Erin Larkin (Robert Parker Wine Advocate) for a tour of the vines and our elevated site in the Pyrenees is just breathtaking. Fruit is seriously goodlooking this year. The later summer we are having and the recent warm, sunny days are ensuring fruit is ripening slowly and retaining that crucial acidity. I think this is going to be an epic harvest, possibly one of the best I have seen at Dalwhinnie yet.
With fruit currently going through the crucial period of veraison in the Lowestoft La Maison vineyard, we speak to Chief Winemaker Liam McElhinney on his thoughts for the upcoming 2024 vintage in Tasmania.
"We’ve had a really settled spring and summer period, which has really set the vines up for what looks like a great season!
"Crops are about average, and the Pinot Noir at Lowestoft has just started going through veraison. Actually, at a very similar timing to last year.
"We’ve had a couple of nice rainfall events since Christmas, which couldn’t have been timed better, giving the soil much need replenishment after some really warm and dry weeks!
"We are excited to see fruit coming on stream from our Strelley Farm and Gillingbrook vineyards too. Gillingbrook in particular has some fantastic looking Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which we think could make some very special parcels of wine. This vineyard is significantly cooler than Strelley Farm and our Viticulturist Christian de Camps has done an amazing job this year in keeping the pests and diseases at bay.
"We commenced the 2023 harvest on the 10th of March last year, and I’d say were on track to potentially commence a week earlier this year…mother nature permitting!"