Media Release – 16 April 2012

Canberra and district winemakers have weathered the storm of the heavy rain and cooler conditions, with the recently released Canberra District Vintage Report 2012 advising that interesting, complex and elegant wines will continue to define the region’s 2012 vintage.

“Whilst some reds and late harvest crops are still to come in, 2012 is set to be a unique vintage – amongst the wettest and coolest on record,” said Chris Carpenter, President of the Canberra District Vigneron’s Association.

An abundance of soil moisture across the season and ideal temperatures during the ripening period has resulted in excellent soil conditions, excellent vine health and superb fruit across a range of varieties.

Unfortunately, widespread and severe rainfall, coupled with isolated hail storms, took its toll on some of the region’s vineyards, with berry split and hail damage increasing disease risk and subsequent fruit loss.  Timing of these weather events was particularly debilitating on the earlier ripening white varieties.

“While handpicking is common across the district in any season, selective handpicking was the only choice for many growers,” Chris continued. “This increases the costs of maintaining fruit quality, as there is no market for B-grade fruit.”

As with the 2011 vintage, fruit is coming in with excellent flavours and colours and lower than usual Baumes, creating opportunities for winemakers to craft award-winning wines at lower alcohol levels.  By using selective picking and careful winemaking techniques to mitigate hail and disease damage, experienced winemakers and growers will still have excellent wines, although quantities may be reduced.

“2012 has certainly been a challenging year for the district’s growers and winemakers, but shows all the signs of producing some excellent wines, albeit at smaller volumes,” said Chris.

“This year will be another vintage where the metal of Canberra winemakers will shine through in the production of good wine from compromised vineyards.”

Along with widespread shoot thinning and general vineyard hygiene, 2012 has also seen some of the region’s growers trialling biological controls to manage the threat of botrytis.  Results of these trials will be assessed by individual growers and may result in longer term changes to vineyard management practices.


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