Our 2017 harvest is now behind us. It was an unusual year. We experienced lots of rain, a hot summer and a hail storm. We had to harvest some varieties early and others later.

The 2017 harvest is now behind us.

It was an unusual year with rain nearly every day in March, causing us to harvest some varieties early and others later. The Simall Wines’ harvest period usually goes from the end of January to mid-April, which is considered to be a long harvest time. This is because we source our grapes from vineyards in various wine regions across NSW.

Temperatures during the year

The NSW Summer was the warmest on record. It included the longest spell of hot days and the warmest night on record. It was also the tenth warmest Autumn on record (BOM, 2017, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/season/nsw/archive/201705.summary.shtml ).  Grapevines shut down when ambient temperatures are above 35*C. This is their natural survival mechanism which prevents water loss. But during this shutdown the grapes don’t ripen. As a result of these hot conditions there was a delay in grape ripening in regions such as the Riverina, Central Ranges and Hilltops. Cooler climates like Orange and the Southern Highlands were less affected.

Rainfall during the year

Rainfall was below average, particularly in the eastern part of the state, but some severe thunderstorms and hail cased local damage (BOM, 2017, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/season/nsw/archive/201702.summary.shtml ).

The busiest month for harvesting our grapes is March. Above average rainfall was recorded across eastern NSW and it rained nearly every day of March on the South Coast.

  • The Pinot Grigio in the Southern Highlands was becoming infected with fungal diseases in early March, but fortunately we were able to pick it before the rain really set in.
  • Our Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio grapes from Orange were also picked just before the rain.
  • Our organic Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the Central Ranges were affected by a hail storm which reduced yields but the nearby Shiraz vineyard was unaffected.
  • Our reds from the Hilltops region were delayed further to allow the vineyards to dry out and the grapes to ripen. We received the last of the Cabernet late April.

How will this affect our wines?

Due to this season’s conditions the whites will be lighter in fruit flavours and alcohol but they will be nice and crisp. The reds have more fresh fruit flavours and will also be slightly lighter in alcohol.

If you have any questions or feedback please email me simon@simallwines.com.au

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