Wimmera wineries prepare for polar opposite harvests

GREAT GRAPES: Norton Estate Wines owners Sam Spence and Chris Spence are expecting great grapes from the vines this year. Picture: DAINA OLIVER
GREAT GRAPES: Norton Estate Wines owners Sam Spence and Chris Spence are expecting great grapes from the vines this year. Picture: DAINA OLIVER

Related

WIMMERA winemakers are preparing for different harvests this season. 

Norton Estate’s owner Chris Spence said he would be picking great grapes from the vines.

The vineyard was fortunate to be unscathed by the late spring frost, which severely affected Great Western wineries.

“We weren’t affected by the frost that hit the grape growers in the lower altitude areas. We have enough elevation to put us in a frost-free zone, which was a big bonus,” Mr Spence said. 

Mr Spence said the winery has entered uncharted territory with a wet winter and spring doing wonders for the vines. 

“Back when we established the vineyard we had lower rainfall all the way through to 2016. We have only had two years in a row with above average rainfall,” he said. 

Overall, he predicted it to be a fantastic year for Norton Estate with a balance crop load throughout the varieties.

With berry sizes developing quickly, Mr Spence said it was possible they would begin picking at the end of February.

Grampians Estate owner Tom Guthrie said the Great Western vineyard was in “recovery mode” after the frost on November 4. 

“Because of the severity of the frost it’s only going to get 50 per cent of normal yield in 2019. It’s a two year recovery from such a severe event,” he said.

However, he said the Moyston vineyard was as good as ever. 

“It couldn’t be more different. It has been a good season for the grapes and we are looking at picking the chardonnay at the end of February and the shiraz early April,” he said.

Barangaroo Boutique Wines owner Shelia McClure said the Lower Norton vineyard had another great year.

“We have huge bunches on our vermentino, but we have a lighter shiraz crop, but it rotates every second year so there’s nothing usual about that,” she said.

Mrs McClure said the shiraz rose would return for its second year.

“We made a small batch last year for a test run. We’ll be doubling the lot because it’s a beautiful summer drink,” she said. 

Mrs McClure said a short flowering has brought harvest forward.

She said they planned to start picking in the third week of February. 

“Harvest will be in the third week of February starting with the vermentino, then onto the shiraz and then probably early March the cabernet sauvignon will be picked,” she said. 

Mrs McClure said the forecast of 42 degrees on Saturday was not ideal. 

“They might get burnt on the end with the heat, but they are hardy and usually recover pretty quickly,” she said. 

Comments

Discuss "Winemakers prepare for polar opposite harvests"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.