The APC Collection Outcomes show that Margaret River GI Crush Totals were:
2017 42,106 tonnes (164 producers)
2018 37,213 tonnes (182 producers)
2019 31,893 tonnes (177 producers)
MRWA estimates Vintage 2020 will be approx. 28,000 tonnes based on our own survey of wine producers that represented 65% of the 2019 crush.
This is quite a different picture to the 2020 National Vintage Report was released earlier this month by Wine Australia and can be found here.
For Vintage 2020, Wine Australia reported Margaret River winegrape crush increased +4.8% to 21,312 tonnes vs. the 2019 Wine Australia National Vintage Report that stated Margaret River’s crush as 20,330.
Despite under-estimating Margaret River volume (due to limited survey respondents), the Wine Australia Report is an important industry document, as it includes:
– State summary statistics by variety;
– Regional vintage statistics by variety;
– Average purchase value per tonne for each variety, and total value of the crush in each region;
– Planting details for the state and each region; and
– Historical trends and comparisons with previous vintages.
A more detailed Margaret River Summary report can be found here.
59 Margaret River producers responded in 2020 and 62 responded in 2019 to the Wine Australia survey.
This is significant less that the 181 producers that declared crushing grapes from Margaret River in Vintage 2019 to the APC.
We really encourage all wine producers to respond to Wine Australia’s survey in future vintages to enable this report to give a more accurate reflection of the region.
Margaret River Vintage 2020 has been Outstanding!
At the start of the 2020 growing season, no one would have believed the situation we are in right now. However, it is during challenging times like these that we look for a silver lining, and the silver lining for the Margaret River region is the exceptional vintage we are just wrapping up.
As the Margaret River wine industry finishes one of the most unusual harvests to date, the region raises a collective sigh of relief to have been able to complete the 2020 vintage undisrupted; without significant rain, lockdowns or the impact of bushfires and losses that sadly, some regions in other parts of Australia have had to endure. 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. Low disease pressure, timely flowering of native Marri trees to keep the birds at bay and little to no rain meant that growers could literally “take their pick” when they wanted.
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.
Yet here is another silver lining… the lower yields have resulted in exceptional fruit that is physiologically ripe and shows divine concentration of aromas and flavours.
While the 2020 vintage from Margaret River will be in scarce supply, it will be a very special vintage to look out for.
Our thoughts go out to all those who have been adversely impacted by the current pandemic. We hope to raise a toast in acknowledgment of the difficult days we’ve survived when we get through to the other side of this.
After a significantly wet winter with rainfall 30% above average, temperatures gradually crept up to above long-term ranges while rainfall fell well below norms as spring commenced. Regular heat-waves through the months of October, November and December saw maximum daytime temperatures regularly in the mid 30’s. These periods of high temperatures caused an acceleration in grape development, fortunately without the related sunburn which can occur if such heat occurs after veraison.
Chardonnay was first out of the blocks with an early budburst at the end of August. This allowed the soil to dry and warm, providing ideal conditions for early root growth and optimal access to nutrients. As other varieties commenced their growth, we saw development of healthy, well-balanced canopies across the region.
The growing season overall offered ideal conditions for a wide range of varieties, from early to late ripening. The beautiful weather and lower yields gave sufficient time for fruit to reach its best without the pressure of a premature harvest date due to disease or poor conditions.
Harvest began at the end of January, the earliest start on record, brought on by lower yields and warm, dry weather which ripened the fruit more rapidly than is usual.
The warm daytime temperatures saw the first half of the vintage race along with all white grapes harvested by the end of February, a very early finish for the white’s harvest.
During this period, the season’s regular dry, sunny days provided a natural impediment to any development of disease which can thrive on humid, cloudy days. Marri trees blossomed extensively, keeping the birds away from the vineyards.
A weak, cold front brought approximately 35mm of rain in late February to early March and daytime temperatures moderated in mid-March which was very beneficial in slowing things down and allowing softening and ripening of tannins and great flavour development. The small amount of rain was also considered a positive by those who own dry-grown vineyards.
By the end of March to early April most of the region had finished their Cabernet Sauvignon harvest, the latest ripening varietal in the region.
The 2020 yields are below the long-term average due to several factors, rather than a specific incident. There were colder than average spring conditions in 2018 when the fruit load is determined in developing buds for the next season. In the spring of 2019, isolated patches of hail, widespread winds and rain caused damage to vine shoots and impacted flowering and fruit-set with varieties which were at a sensitive growth stage on exposed sites in the region, creating low bunch weights. The dry growing season also contributed to lighter than average bunch weights across most varieties.
It has been a sensational Chardonnay vintage, with wonderful complexity, balance, concentration of flavours and clean, pristine fruit. With the accelerated ripening, there is incredible retention of natural acidity, texture and loads of energy.
Sauvignon Blanc is showing excellent early floral characters while the Semillon shows richness and roundness. The other whites have also been sensational with fruit displaying purity, freshness and excellent varietal expression.
Shiraz loved the warmth with good depth of flavour, a bright fruit spectrum and lovely tannins with medium weight.
Cabernet Sauvignon is showing excellent potential, with loads of colour, concentration, dark fruit vibrance and the standout feature of lovely fine soft tannins.
Across the board the quality is outstanding.
Learn about the beautiful marri tree blossom and why it’s so significant to winemakers and viticulturalists during vintage.
Climate and soil are the most important factors when it comes to grape-growing, but did you know that the marri tree blossom plays a big part in Margaret River viticulture, too?
The marri blossom is a beautiful flower featuring fine hairs that fan out like a hat. Every year or two the flower blooms, transforming most of Margaret River’s treescape from green to yellow-white each summer.
While beautiful, there’s more to the marri blossom than meets the eye. A valuable food source for many of the region’s native animals (including the bee, which makes delicious honey from the flower’s nectar), the blossom also helps viticulturalists protect their prized grapes from hungry birds.
Just before vintage, the Margaret River wine industry turns their attention to the marri trees and their tiny flowers. The quantity of marri flowers help them estimate the amount of bird pressure they’ll have on their grapes – the more flowers on the trees, the less birds on the vine, and vice versa.
In 2019, for example, there was very little marri blossom in the region, resulting in high bird pressure. Thanks to plenty of marri blossoms all over Margaret River now, this year’s vintage is looking much more promising.
Alas, not all of the birds can be kept away by the sweet nectar of a marri blossom. To combat the birds from damaging a vineyard’s grapes, winemakers cover each of the vines with nets – a typical sight from February to April. It’s a sure-fire way to keep the birds at bay, and the grapes growing all day.