Wineries across the Margaret River region can expect a reduced yield this year thanks to a cooler than normal spring, according to Margaret River Wine Industry Association president Nigel Gallop.
Mr Gallop told the Times bunch counts indicated a slight reduction in yield, most likely due to the cooler, spring weather conditions throughout the flowering period.
“This will lead to a reduction in yields in vineyards throughout the Margaret River region but it is difficult to estimate final tonnage for 2013 when compared to 2012’s 35,000 tonnes, ” he said.
In his annual pre-vintage roundup, Mr Gallop also said Margaret River’s temperamental weather could serve up some interesting wines this vintage.
“Weather conditions up until Christmas have been generally been cooler and fresher than usual, ” Mr Gallop said.
“Since then temperatures have risen gradually, apart from a three-day period around New Year which saw summer come in with a rush.
“With the current return to a more standard climatic pattern in Margaret River with warm-to-hot conditions during the day and cool-to-warm nights have been the norm and accompanying this disease and pest pressure is low and should remain so with lower than normal January rainfall recorded and a forecast for a dry February.”
Mr Gallop said white varieties across the district were entering veraison, the period in which they soften and ripen, and he expected picking to begin as early as next week.
“Future weather conditions over the next six weeks will … determine the actual date of vintage, but the general consensus is that it will start in the northern end of the region sometime around the February 12 to 20, commencing as it always does with Chardonnay, ” Mr Gallop said in his roundup.
“There is much that can happen between now and when the last bucket has been picked but if the medium to longer range weather forecast holds true Margaret River is on the way to another strong quality vintage in 2013 across all varieties.”