Vintage 2013 #v13 UPDATE - 8/2/2013

Bush vine Grenache, clean, healthy and ripening up quickly. Could this be a stellar year?

We are into the business end of the season. Grape harvest has begun and the first ferments are moving through wineries. The early talk is of great wine quality and the harvest is moving early with some blocks harvested 14 days earlier than average.

When interviewed on ABC radio DJ's agronomist James Hook said Shiraz is looking “the best it’s been in years and as good as it did in 2012 at least. McLaren Vale has the chance to string together two very good to great vintages in a row like it was able to do in the mid 2000s."

Sugar levels have increased quickly this week with many Shiraz vineyards testing above 13o Baume. McLaren Vale is expecting fine dry weather over the next week. Sugar ripeness has occurred very quickly, James has heard reports of a runaway spike in sugar in one Shiraz vineyard of 15oBe! These readings will see many vineyards harvest ripe within 7 days.  Vineyards with high Baumes are being booked in for harvest next week

Bio-Dynamic Shiraz in McLaren Vale - this vineyard is 14.1oBe and booked in for harvest on Wednesday Note a good canopy, 100-140cm long and healthy functioning leaves.
Growers with cooler sites, or with late season varieties like Grenache and Petit Verdot have several weeks to go and DJ's will continue to give an overview until picking is completed.

"We need four weeks of nice weather and grape-growers will have nailed it."

He said the forecast looked to be below average rainfall and temperatures during February.“Temperatures in the high 20s to low 30s with sun and slight wind would be preferable.”

“The odd shower around isn’t too bad but we don’t want too much rain at this point,” he said. "It is  never over until it is picked and in the winery, but so far, so good."

"The supply and demand for red grapes, well Shiraz, Cab and Grenache anyway, has swung back the other way and growers now have the chance to negotiate with wineries." 

While DJ's does not get involved in talking about grape prices, James said is hearing them to increase to a "more balanced level compared to the glut years."

"Not so sure about supply and demand for white grapes, that is dependent on the grower and the winery."

Chardonnay with some honey dew glistening in the sun.
Meanwhile in the Adelaide Hills and parts of Langhorne Creek expectations are also for a good season. Disease levels are very low and vines are finishing Verasion (EL-35) and moving into intermediate ripeness (EL 36). 

Matt Wilson, responsible for DJ's crop monitoring in the Adelaide Hills and Langhorne Creek is happy with the was vines are developing, although he
notes that he has been seeing some vine scale and corresponding honey dew.  "The ones I’m seeing are the size of a pinhead or smaller; a few mm. They’re  still white or bone colour.

We also need dry weather to have a successful pick, but the vines are clean and healthly at the moment."