After a pretty mild winter and a warm Spring it’s no surprise that the Swan Valley have already began picking their grapes for the 2016 Swan Valley wines. In fact it’s the earliest wine harvest in the region in the past 20 years and it is most likely one of the earliest in Australia this year.
Both Faber Vineyard in Baskerville and Sittella in Herne Hill commenced picking on the 2nd of January 2016 and from what I’ve heard, it’s looking like a cracker of a vintage for the Valley!
With the lowest rainfall during winter 2015 in over 15 years and higher than average Spring temperatures it meant an early bud burst for many white grapes. And picking of the red grapes could possibly start before the end of this month too.
News on the grapevine (don’t we love those wine-y puns!) is that 2016 is leaning towards being an ‘excellent vintage’ in terms of quality. The grapes are looking juicy and full of flavour which will hopefully produce some super flavoursome wines for the 2016 vintage wines.
What are the winemakers saying about V2016 so far?
Starting our harvest on 2 January with Chardonnay and Verdelho is the earliest wine harvest I have seen in my 23 vintages in the Swan Valley. All of the grapes are early and we should be picking reds before Australia Day.” – John Griffiths, President of the Swan Valley & Regional Winemakers Association and Faber Vineyard Winemaker
Higher temperatures and lower rain has meant the vineyards in the Swan Valley grew at tremendous rates with good fruit set allowing for early ripening of this year’s vintage. This is the earliest vintage I can remember during my time in the Valley!” – Duncan Harris from Harris Organic Wine
The 2016 Vintage is one of the earliest on record in WA. With the weather conditions in the last week of winter being more like spring, we were off to an early bud burst and growing season leading to our earliest Sparkling base pick on 2 January. It is all positive with great flavour development.” – Colby Quirk, Senior Winemaker for Sittella
Vintage is a busy time in the Swan Valley – however don’t fret their doors are still open and I have to admit it is a great time to visit as you may see a bit of vintage work underway.
A couple of years ago I actually went and hung out with Olive Farm Wines for the morning during the 2013 vintage – it was great to see everything happening up close and how much work actually goes into a bottle of our much-loved vino!
Make sure to mark in your calendars the annual Vintage Weekend in the Swan Valley which will be held from the 11th-13th of March 2016. There’ll be a lot of great events with plenty of wine, food and music. Keep an eye out for the official program to be released in the coming weeks on the Swan Valley & Regional Winemakers Association website.