Shortages loom for Clare & Barossa Valley wine

April 8, 2019
By Alana House

If you’re a fan of Margaret River, Clare Valley or Barossa tipples, brace yourself for wine shortages – the 2019 vintage has been one of the most challenging on record.

Clare Valley Wine and Grape Association executive officer Tania Matz told ABC News that fans of Clare Valley wines should put in orders as soon as possible to avoid missing out, because there would not be much around.

“We’re estimating yields to be down 30–40% on some varieties,” Matz said.

Jim Barry Wines winemaker Tom Barry noted: “Riesling is really sturdy, that might only be 20% down. Shiraz and cabernet were between 30 and 40% down.

“That’s just the nature of the beast, that’s wine growing and we deal with that.”

Barossa Grape & Wine Association viticultural development officer Nicki Robins has also urged buyers to get in quickly on 2019 releases to avoid potential wine shortages. She told Adelaide Now that yields were down at least 40% this year — the lowest-yielding Barossa vintage of the past decade.

“The lower yields are resulting in Barossa shiraz and cabernet sauvignon with great colour, intense flavours and firm tannin structure, while grenache and mataro have been described as exceptional, and are shaping up to be 2019 vintage standouts,” she said.

Penfold’s Grange fans, however, can relax. Winemaker Peter Gago told the Australian Financial Review he’s managed to secure enough premium fruit to spare any rationing.

In the Margaret River, recent humidity and rainfall have led to increased mould, coupled with issues involving birds and bees invading vineyards, increasing the risk of wine shortages.

According to News Corp, vineyard workers and some vintners say several of the region’s wineries have lost as much as 70% of their harvest, with white grapes worst affected.

Margaret River Wine Association chief executive Amanda Whiteland was more positive, insisting the 70% figure was not widespread and was more like 15-20% down across the board.

“Many wineries are reporting high-quality fruit, particularly chardonnay, albeit lower yields than last year,” she said.

Whiteland said there were reports of “some isolated vineyards not picking” but estimated total yields were down about 15-20% on last year’s harvest.

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