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Tyrrell’s reduces 2020 vintage ‘severely’ due to smoke taint

Published:  22 January, 2020

Tyrrell’s Wines has made the decision to have a “severely reduced” 2020 vintage due to smoke taint caused by the bushfires, with the Australian producer estimating a total crop loss of 80%.

With vineyards extending from its home in the Hunter Valley NSW to its Heathcote vineyards in Victoria, Tyrrell’s said that although it had not been directly impacted by fire damage, the continued presence of smoke in the Hunter Valley since late October 2019 meant that many of its vineyards had been affected by smoke taint.

Tyrrell’s has been working closely with the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), and Dr Ian Porter of La Trobe University, who have been testing our vineyards’ grapes across the region for smoke taint. We have also been conducting micro ferments in our own laboratory, which has led us to the decision that most of our vineyards will not be harvested for wine production.

“If tainted grapes are made into wine they will have unpredictable levels of undesirable characters and this will normally get worse over time. We, as a family, have decided to have a significantly reduced vintage compared to previous years. We are estimating a total crop loss of 80%.”

The impact of smoke taint is not universal across the region, it added.

“The Hunter Valley is a large geographical area and there were many factors to consider when making this decision including proximity to the fires, elevation of vineyards, and days in contact with fresh smoke.

“This decision has been our own and reinforces our premium quality standing in the world of fine wine. As with any other year, any wine that we do bottle from the 2020 vintage will only be of a standard that the family deem befitting of our 162 year legacy.”

As the drought continues, the grapes from the affected vineyards will not go to waste but will be utilised as mulch and feed for the cattle on its property.

Established in 1858 by English immigrant Edward Tyrrell, Tyrrell’s Wines is headed up by fourth generation family member Bruce Tyrrell and and is home to the iconic Vat 1 Semillon.