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"Exceptional" Margaret River harvest wraps early

Published:  02 April, 2020

Low yields in the Margaret River harvest has produced fruit of “exceptional” quality with “divine concentration of aromas and flavours”, the Margaret River Wine Assocation is reporting.

After an unusually wet winter, with rainfall some 30% above average, summer temperatures that regularly hit the mid 30ºs accelerated growth without causing any heat-related problems.

At Vasse Felix Chardonnay yields were down by up to 35% against a five year average. With all varietals recording below-average yields, the vineyard reports one of its smallest harvest in recent years.

It attributed the low yields to a range of weather conditions, including a colder than average spring that also brought some incidents of hail.

The region’s harvest began at the end of January, its earliest recorded start-date yet, with all the white grapes gathered by the end of February.

Margaret River’s latest ripening varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon, was largely harvested by the end of March.

Commenting on the harvest, Steve James, manager of winemaking and viticulture at Voyager Estate, said: “From our perspective the vintage has been terrific.

“Across the board the quality is outstanding. The whites across all the varieties we grow, have been sensational with pristine fruit displaying purity, freshness and excellent varietal expression. The reds look amazing – with loads of colour, concentration and the standout feature of lovely fine soft tannins.”

As Harpers reported earlier this week, harvests have also been exceptionally early elsewhere in the southern hemisphere, with grapes in Mendoza ripening up to four weeks early.