With the Shiraz harvest on Wednesday came the end of a difficult season for growing grapes in Margaret River. We had frost in October, a lot of rain in late January, ideal conditions for growing mould, and the Marri trees didn’t flower so there were plenty of birds and bees foraging among the vines, eating grapes. I am not complaining, just saying that it wasn’t easy. In practical terms these conditions meant that we didn’t get to harvest any Semillon this year, and our Chardonnay yields were reduced by half, both due to the frost. The Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc crops were also down a little, but not too much. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz yields were both down around 25%, due to the need to drop fruit that the birds and bees had got to. The other impact of this season that you may notice is that there will be very little local honey this year due to the poor flowering of local bushland. The bees basically went into survival mode, so I was not unhappy about sharing a bit of fruit with them.
As a result of careful management of the vineyard, which included several extra passes through the vineyard to drop damaged fruit, the fruit that we did get is good quality so we still expect some very nice wines to be made from this vintage. We will not make a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc in 2019, and will have limited stocks of Chardonnay, but all other wines will be produced as normal.