The weather gods have once again smiled on South West wineries, with local producers benefiting from another excellent growing season.
The Geographe region, which stretches from Yarloop in the north to Donnybrook and Capel in the south and from the coast as far east as Collie, experienced near ideal conditions, according to Capel Vale Winery co-owner Peter Pratten.
“Our winery and some of our vineyards are situated in the Geographe and, like most of the South West, the growing season has been very good with high temperatures but reasonable rain in early summer, producing conditions under which grape vines thrive,” he said.
“The very hot weather at the end of December and start of January was a positive as it destroyed spores and mildews on the vines as well as slightly accelerating the ripening process. “
It has not been completely smooth sailing however, with the storm that hit the South West in early December resulting in light hail damage to some vines.
“There was also a lot of wind around during flowering time in Pemberton and Margaret River, which could affect some grape types, sauvignon blanc especially, in terms of yield, but will have no effect on quality,” Dr Pratten said.
“From now until vintage the biggest potential grape disease problem is Noble rot, which occurs if there is a lot of rain followed by cool foggy mornings, resulting in ripe grapes becoming infected.
“It’s generally not an issue in the Geographe region or northern Margaret River but can affect vineyards further south in Pemberton and the Great Southern.”The first wines of the 2013 vintage – dry whites such as Chardonnay and Verdelho – should be on shelves by August.