This year we had lower than average winter rainfall followed by a dry and warm start to spring. This meant that canopy vigour was reduced and crop levels were down. We had a few warm days during flowering with some hot northerly winds which heavily impacted fruit set, with the exception being Grenache, which had only a small reduction compared with average.

December had some extremely hot days which saw some of the vines experience a little bit of stress, but then temperatures through January and February were very mild, which gave us a prolonged ripening period allowing for good development of flavour. A very timely couple of rain events late January and early February gave the vines a much needed replenish to get them through the rest of the season. 

All of the grenache vineyards we source from are dry grown bush vines, despite the dry weather through flowering and veraison, they held up exceptionally well. Fruit looked far more regular than other varieties, and the bush vines had good shoot growth with healthy canopies. One difference from previous years was smaller berries and bunch size, resulting in a nice concentrated flavour. The cooler ripening period has also meant we held on to some really nice natural acidity.

McLaren Vale was very lucky to avoid any impact from the bushfires – with fires being both south of the Vale on Kangaroo Island, and north of us in the Adelaide Hills. Early smoke taint testing was undertaken as a precaution and we were grateful to have been spared as a region.

As a general overlook, the 2020 vintage tracked a couple of weeks later than what we have seen in more recent years, with our first harvest being the Blindspot grenache for the rose’ on the 28th February, closely followed by the Tempranillo on the 2nd March. The majority of the remaining fruit came off in the last two weeks of March with a total of 76 tonnes being crushed for 2020.

In general, we should see a lot of very high-quality wines come out of McLaren Vale this vintage – I think everyone will just wish there was more volume!

Skye Salter

May 24, 2020 — Lauretta Parker

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