Strong finish for vintage

Clare Valley’s 2020 vintage is on track to begin mid next month, with yields expected to be down on average, however Clare Valley Wine & Grape Association general manager Lucy O’Brien said all indications were pointing towards a quality harvest.
“Vintage will begin in mid-February and is looking strong for Riesling and most white varieties in general,” she said.
“Yield will be lower for Shiraz but we’re expecting good quality with good tannin levels. There have been small canopies in dry-grown blocks where bunch thinning has been necessary.
“Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon are looking good at this stage, slightly smaller berries but good bunch size.
“Otherwise, the vineyards are holding canopies well and the milder weather and localised rainfall is giving a strong finish to the vintage.”
At Paulett Wines, Polish Hill River, Matt Paulett said also said vintage was on track to start at the same time as last year, with similar yields also anticipated.
“We’ll have the same start as last year and in fact the last two years, around February 20, with some of our Chardonnay and Semillon at our Watervale vineyard starting veraison already and some of our Sangiovese for our Rose wines starting to change as well,” he said.
“Our Riesling is still four to five weeks away from harvest, and we’re seeing a bit of veraison in some of our Cabernet.
“We’re looking at yields similar to last year, which will be 20 to 30 per cent down on average.”
Mr Paulett said despite a dry season, 18 millimetres of rain recorded for January had been helpful – although more steady rain would also be welcome in the next few weeks – and being all dry-grown grapes they were holding on well, with mild weather over the past week assisting.
The quality of the Paulett grapes was expected to be good, and Mr Paulett said it was likely they would have a “condensed” vintage this year.
“Quality wise, I expect a pretty good year and with Riesling being the number one for Pauletts in Clare, it’s a pretty robust and resilient grape and I think the quality will be good,” he said.
“I think vintage will be reasonably condensed and once we start it will be go, go, go.
“Hopefully we can get the white in first then focus on the reds but we never really know what will happen with Mother Nature.
“We expect to start in mid-February and within four to five weeks harvest will be done.”