The region experienced a wet winter and spring with continued damp conditions right into early December. Dry and warm conditions then prevailed all summer and well into autumn with no significant rain until May, well after vintage was completed.
Harvest began slightly early in warm and dry conditions which gradually cooled to a classic temperate finish to vintage. This meant that early whites were picked slightly earlier but, as the vintage progressed, the slower ripening red varieties were picked at a more traditional time, although in some cases even later than normal.
After a smaller vintage across the region in 2011, yields are just above average this year. Bunch sizes were larger and yields/extraction rate just above our long term average across most varieties.
The climatic conditions meant that if vignerons had spray programs in place and activated early in the season, then there were no significant disease issues.
All in all, it’s been an excellent to exceptional vintage! Whites display excellent flavour and reds, because of the perfect slow ripening pattern will, when released, be some of the best ever produced in recent years – even considering that all recent vintages have been excellent in the Great Southern.
So watch out for classic, aromatic and flavoursome Riesling and reds that have benefitted from a long, cool ripening to produce full flavours with classic sub-regional characteristics to the fore.
Enjoy them all – you deserve it!