Harvest yields quality

Augusta Margaret River Times
Fraser Gallop chief winemaker Clive Otto and the Margaret River Wine Association's Amanda Whiteland.
Camera IconFraser Gallop chief winemaker Clive Otto and the Margaret River Wine Association's Amanda Whiteland. Credit: Taelor Pelusey/Augusta-Margaret River Times, Taelor Pelusey Picture: Taelor Pelusey

The Margaret River wine industry breathed a sigh of relief this week as vineyards finished vintage work, bringing in a stellar 2020 harvest.

Although yields were down about 20-25 per cent according to some vignerons, the quality of this year’s vintage would make it one to remember — regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s harvest was completed undisrupted, without significant rain, lockdowns or the impact of bushfires, despite a high demand on picking staff as vineyards frantically searched for more workers during the compressed vintage.

Margaret River Wine Association chief executive Amanda Whiteland said low disease pressure, timely flowering of native marri trees to keep birds away, and little to no rain meant growers were quietly confident the vintage would produce world-class wines.

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“We are humbly counting our blessings. The region enjoyed an early start to the season, with warmer-than-average spring temperatures evolving into the perfect summer growing conditions,” she said.

“Compared with the challenges of cooler weather and significant bird pressure in 2019, the 2020 vintage in Margaret River was a real treat for viticulturists.

“The only downside of note has been the lower-than-normal yields across all varieties, resulting in one of the smallest harvests in recent years.”

She said the lower yields had resulted in exceptional fruit that was physiologically ripe and showed a “divine concentration of aromas and flavours”.

Fraser Gallop Estate owner Nigel Gallop, a former MRWA president, said most vineyards were down about 25 per cent, but the quality of fruit was spectacular.

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