Vintage Report: Orange with Ben Crossing from Angullong

May 16, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Drinks Trade recently caught up with Ben Crossing, General Manager and second generation winegrower at Angullong Wines, to chat about the recently completed vintage.

Drinks Trade: How was vintage ‘24 at Angullong? 

Ben Crosing: It was quite good! It was quite well spread out in the end – we thought it was going to be a bit of a rush, but we ended up with a pretty good ripening period, so we’re pretty happy with what we’ve got.

It was a bit earlier than previous years. We started just in the last week of January, which was nearly six weeks earlier than last year in fact. 

We had a dry dry winter and spring, so Budburst was a bit earlier and so sort of brought the whole thing forward, and the whole vintage forward; which ended up being really good. We had rain at the right time [and] we ended up with a pretty dry finish, so we didn’t have to rush getting things off.

DT: How does it compare to recent years?

BC: I think it’s probably going to be as good as the last few. We’ve been pretty happy with the last few years, even though they’ve been a slightly cooler and later vintage. This one has been a little bit earlier, but we didn’t have a lot of heat and so I think it’s going to be a pretty good vintage. 

Everything looks really good now. Whites look great – aromatic whites look really good, Chardonnay’s really varietal, got plenty of flavour in the early stages. 

And reds – we got them nice and ripe and they look really good, so we’re actually very happy with the whole vintage.

DT: Are yields lower/higher?

BC: Yields were a bit up and down in general; pretty much just on average, I would say.

We ended up with a pretty even bud burst – we did do some watering in the early parts of spring because it was quite dry, so we just watered things up to try and get an even start to the season and I think that was, that was well worth doing just to get a good start to Spring for the vines. 

So we ended up with pretty even yields across the board.

DT: How’s grape quality overall?

BC: Really good – I would say probably one of the better vintages we’ve had in the last few years.

DT: Anything to look out for? Anything to avoid?

BC: I think the reds are gonna be pretty exceptional this year again – they’ve ripened up nicely/we got them off at optimal ripeness. I think Shiraz looks really good. 

Other things like Tempranillo is looking really, really good – really promising from the start. So, yeah, I think it’s gonna be a good season for reds for us here.

DT: Has Vintage ‘24 at Angullong been fairly reflective of Orange overall? 

BC: Yeah, look, we’re a bit different. Because of our altitude, we’re a little bit lower.

We’re sort of on that 600 metres, so we started probably about two weeks earlier than the high country vineyards, so it is quite different where we are, we’re a bit earlier.

It was a pretty classic sort of vintage for Orange – nice sort of dry autumn ripening period, which was good.

I think Orange – yeah, pretty consistent across the board, really. I think most people would be pretty happy with what they’ve got in the winery this year.

Vintage Report – Mudgee is available here.

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