Vintage report 2023

Rainfall over winter and spring was average and up until the end of November conditions were cool and cloudy, slowing development and growth in all varieties. The flowering period of the early varieties was noticeably impacted by this cooler weather, resulting in reduced fruit set and consequently, lower yields. Moderate disease pressure was kept at bay through a tight organic spray program, and cultural management of the vines (shoot thinning, leaf and bunch removal). Summer months were consistently warm without reaching extremes; perfect conditions for berry development and ripening, allowing the vines to catch up after falling behind during the cooler spring.

It was also bone dry, with just 2mm of rain falling in total over the months of December, January, and February combined. This much drier season, with consequent lower humidity, helped reduce the risk of disease from powdery & downy mildews and Botrytis. After a warm, dry start to the first half of March, a cooler change slowed ripening. This was followed in April by weak, cold fronts bringing a few millimetres of rain just like last year, but by this time, the vineyards had achieved tannin ripeness in the red varieties, which are likely to show refined and detailed flavour profiles.

The Wilyabrup site was entirely hand-picked this year, with the exception of a single block of Cabernet. Shiraz was the variety most affected by the cool spring weather, which led to slow and late ripening, with a larger crop in the newly cane-pruned sections. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc all saw reduced yields vs. last year, whilst Merlot, Malbec & Shiraz were all up.

Bird pressure from Silvereyes was an issue at Metricup, necessitating nets on the Cabernet and Riesling in particular. Leaf removal on the southern side of the Semillon blocks helped to ward off disease and expose bunches, resulting in even ripening and consistency across the crop.

The Karridale site once again produced small bunches and low weights in the Chardonnay – particularly in the Gingin clone – but quality will be excellent. With the exception of Fiano, yields were better than last year (up 7% overall at this site). A viticulturally intensive vintage, due to the requirement for canopy manipulation to allow the crop to fully ripen, along with bird and disease pressure management.

Vintage 2023 ran from 20th February to 14th April 2023, and was a very strong year for all varieties, but particularly for Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon