Wineries and grape growers in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills Wine Region are celebrating as the 2021 harvest draws to a close, set to be an outstanding vintage. Following the exceptionally difficult vintage of the previous year, many winemakers are breathing a sigh of relief as excellent, consistent weather conditions throughout the key ripening and harvesting season from late spring to early autumn result in high yields of outstanding quality.
A cool wet spring in 2020 resulted in good soil moisture, followed by a warm, consistent November, with minimal damaging weather conditions such as frost, wind, hail or a heatwave. Calm conditions allowed for beautiful flower and canopy development, ensuring fruit was protected and set in all grape varieties, from the cooler climate Chardonnays through to bigger reds such as Shiraz, grown in the warmer pockets of the Hills.
The cool, slow ripening conditions ensured acids were retained and flavours able to develop gradually, meaning whites such as Sauvignon Blanc look to be particularly exciting. Furthermore, the late warm sunny weather at the end of the season signals good results for the bolder red varieties which ripen later, such as Shiraz.
Jared Stringer, president, Adelaide Hills Wine Region said: “It has been an outstanding vintage for the Adelaide Hills. A very mild end to the summer and a cool autumn has allowed the fruit to hang on the vine with little to no disease pressure and no heatwave issues. This has given rise to beautiful flavour development and excellent acid retention, particularly evident in our world-class, cool climate, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
“With so many growers still recovering from the low yields of 2019 and then the bushfire-affected 2020 harvest, we could not have asked for a better vintage in terms of yield and quality. While a number of our reds including some Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are yet to be picked, all signs point to fantastic quality here also. An Adelaide Hills’ vintage for the ages.”
While overall yields have been excellent, some wineries are still suffering from the effects of the Cudlee Creek fire of December 2019, with 20% of the potential Adelaide Hills crop still in some state of recovery. The Chardonnay May festival is just one of the ways wine lovers can show their support for the region.