Barossa Vintage Reports
Barossa 2017 Vintage Report
Barossa’s 2017 vintage has finally wrapped-up four to six weeks later than the ‘new normal’ of the past decade, with some stand-out wines and an overall yield 20-30% above a low five-year average.
In stark contrast to the previous year, the growing season started after a long wet winter and one of the wettest Septembers on record, which alleviated frost risk and irrigation requirements. Annual (2016) rainfall was 750mm, over 150% of the long term average; winter was 143%, spring 198% and December 135% of average. The resulting wet soils, combined with a cooler than average spring and early summer (October – November max and min temps were 2oC below average) meant that vines grew slowly but healthily, mostly flowering and setting well with a good number of bunches.
As the grapes went through veraison, January and February were less extreme with generally average temperatures and only two short bursts of high temperatures. Two well timed rains in late January and early February kept vines healthy and in no rush to ripen, with the rest of February remaining dry.
March saw the beginning of an Indian summer which lasted until late April. This was perfect for consistent ripening, colour development and good natural acidity. The average minimum and maximum temperatures for March were 2 to 3oC above average, followed by a notable shift to much cooler nights from late March onwards which extended vintage into May.
Another solid year for Barossa Shiraz, the 2017 vintage promises to deliver an exciting array of wine styles, from “bright, aromatic wines”, through to “vibrant, intense, well-structured” and “dense, concentrated” wines from the Barossa’s many diverse sites. Eden Valley Shiraz is showing heightened spice aromatics and fine tannins.
Other strong varieties for 2017 include Semillon, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, with Eden Valley Riesling predicted to be a stand-out and rival the great Riesling vintages of 2002 and 2005.
Red and white yields throughout the Barossa and Eden Valleys have been wide-ranging depending on variety, soils, mesoclimates and viticultural techniques employed by the grower.