Harvest time is the culmination of so many things in the life of a vineyard, and the busiest time of the year for any wine producer and grape grower.
With several growing sub-regions within the Canberra District each with their own local variations in soil and microclimate, each vineyard can have distinct experiences when it comes to this yield of crop and the quality. Plus, of course, each grape variety has it’s own personality that needs to be managed, not to mention the vagaries of the weather during picking the grapes.
So we asked some of our members about their experience for the 2019 Vintage.
Overall, I’m very satisfied with the quality of the grapes this year. Yields were light due to dry conditions through winter and spring 2018. Most grape parcels ripened quite early, and the normally spread-out harvest was compressed into a few short weeks. I’m looking forward to tasting the fruits of our labour in the bottle.
Alex McKay, Winemaker
Our third harvest and getting better every time. The Contentious Character’s 2019 harvest included their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay picked for their 2019 Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay, made in the traditional Method Champenoise, and the Merlot for their 2019 Rose. The 30 year old Pinot Gris vines were harvested for the next Pinot Gris, an uncommon variety in the Canberra region, but one the Characters are becoming known for.
No grapes are sold as per our first two harvests as we now have plenty of demand for all we produce. The yield up last year but this year very similar although a few minor irregularities in a couple of varieties due to climate change and the dry year.
Tony Mansfield, Brand, Marketing + Sales
Helm Wines of Murrumbateman completed the 2019 on March 27 with their Cabernet sauvignon. The yields were slightly down on 2018 but quality was high across all Riesling and Cabernet sauvignon vineyards. The seasons was one of extremes with a record winter drought, record series of summer temperatures, storms, hail, floods and dust storms, but the vines came through with high quality fruit.
Helm Rieslings vineyard average to above yields of intensely flavour, balanced, disease free fruit without sunburn. This is due to the intensive management Helm Wines give to their vineyards, with minimum sprays, adequate watering to prevent stress or leaf loss, as they believe the “great Rieslings are made in the vineyard”.
The Cabernet sauvignon vineyards are dry grown and have been for 5 years with 2019 season a real test for this vineyard management. The vines remained healthy and came through the extreme season with rich fruit flavours, low pH and moderate sugar levels and acid levels. A testament to the vineyard management.
This season has galvaniser my belief that grapevines are like weeds you can’t kill them, and they will produce quality fruit under the most adverse conditions, if given proper care.
Ken Helm winemaker and Director of Helm Wines
Vintage 2019 is over for another year. This year’s harvest at Shaw Wines was one of the best we have ever seen, particularly for our reds with the stand out being Cabernet Sauvignon. Harvest was relatively quick this year starting at the end of February with our whites and all finished by 28 March. The dry weather saw quantities slightly lower than last year, but the quality of the fruit was remarkable.
Graeme Shaw, Winemaker