A wet winter and a wet early spring. An early bud burst and early strong shoot growth development. Early and above average heat accumulation days.
What did this mean?
The season would be approximately 8 days earlier than normal; it was preset that there would be early ripening so that flavours would ripen at lower sugar levels and hence lower alcohol levels.
The wetter spring was indicating higher yields that did occur in Margaret River with Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz. Further south in the Great Southern there was poor flowering with high winds at a critical time so Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet had low yields.
The ideal wine growing conditions also produced a lot of Marri bloom so with the advantage of this preferred blossom the birds kept out of the vineyards this year.
There was hardly any rain though initial harvest and ripening period, which mean very low disease pressure. Always a great relief!
With optimal ripening and growing conditions, fruit harvesting intakes were easy to plan this year, which was a pleasant surprise. With an even predictable planned intake, every parcel was able to be handled to its maximum potential.
All whites have been picked in Margaret River, and from 4th March we are starting on the Riesling, Pinot Noir from the Great Southern. Here is where there will be lots of activity for the Denmark winery.
Sparkling which came off early is already fermented, going through malolactic fermentation and looking good.
Early juices – seeing powerful varietal definition and expression but with refined elegance, lower alcohols and beautiful natural acidity.
We are all looking forward to the reds coming in over next month and very pleased with the whites that are already in … looking great so far.
- Jeff Burch, March 2012.
The winter and spring rainfall was well below average. Up to and during harvest we witnessed a dry spring and summer, punctuated by perfectly timed rain events in late November and early January. Humidity remained high and the persistent onshore stream of drizzle throughout January provided some early Botrytis concerns. The autumn was dry, very warm to hot and protracted. The stand-out varieties through the Great Southern region were Sparkling base and table wine Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. In Margaret River; Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Overall, quality was excellent and very similar to 2007 and 2008.
The 2010 vintage was another challenging yet rewarding vintage for the premium, southern grape growing regions of Western Australia. Winter rainfall was close to the long term average. The growing and ripening seasons, while largely warm and dry were punctuated with rains and windy conditions that did affect set and subsequent yields in the Pinot Noir.
Warm, dry weather in late summer and early autumn delivered even ripening as the harvesting of Chardonnay continued throughout March. The mild end to the season saw all varieties ripen perfectly with high natural acidity and fine fruit tannins.
White Rating: 8/10
Red Rating: 8/10
White Rating: 8/10
Red Rating: 8/10
After a tough start with poor fruit set across WA due to a cold wet spring and early summer rain this was looking like a very average vintage with the risk of high disease pressure but as agriculture teaches you the weather then turned into our best friend. Fantastic long slow ripening period with warm days, clear skies and cool nights. We could not have wished for anything better!
The result: Whites yields down across the state particularly for chardonnay down approx. 33%. Wonderful flavour ripe grapes at low sugar levels with fantastic natural acidity. A ripper result for all the white varieties. There will be some great whites made this year.
Reds really benefited from the long slow ripening time with great depth of colour and soft tannins. Provided the vineyard manager got the fruit past the dangerous period of disease in the early part of the ripening he got a fantastic reward, if he did not it was very likely not picked. The professionals were shown up in this vintage. Across the south west there were terrific parcels of Cabernet sauvignon and Shiraz. The Great southern region produced some sensational Pinot Noir which I think is the best we have seem for years. We have only just finished this week with a small parcel of Mt Barker cab to come in. This has been one of the latest vintages for us but I think WA will produce outstanding and long lived reds this year. The yields on all red were really down approx. 40% which is probably a good thing considering the times!
During the growing season, we had reasonable winter rainfall and some frost that reduced the crop levels during spring. Good even conditions and a fairly warm end of February and early March led to our white grapes coming in quickly. After that, we had the ideal vintage conditions for the reds, with some of the best reds ever seen in the Margaret River region.
2008 was a very good year. The whites will be elegant and will cellar very well, particularly Riesling. The reds are showing outstanding fruit richness and ripe tannin structures and they will drink great early on, but will be very long-lived.
We had a cold snap in spring which affected fruit set in some areas. The result being a lighter fruit set, and therefore lower yields. Compared to 2007, the yields are slightly higher, but 2008 yields are still below average.