2023 Vintage Report

In Langhorne Creek mid and late winter rainfall was above average and a few riverside vineyards also received a small flood giving the soil a good soak. This was topped up around flowering with October rainfall tripling the monthly average and November rainfall of 96mm quadrupling the November average. The cool conditions continued leading to a late harvest however December to February rainfall was below or around average. 

The spring was challenging with cold wind and rain both preceding and following the short flowering period which for most varieties was during a brief sunny window of a week, some early flowering varieties were however negatively affected. Generally, yields were surprisingly below average despite the even fruit-set in Shiraz and Cabernet and the mild ripening conditions allowed us to harvest early despite low sugar levels without excess herbaceous character from under-ripe berries within the bunch.

The February harvest of Verdelho started around two weeks later than average on the 20th, with local reds following three weeks later on the 15thof March, coinciding with the commencement of Adelaide Hills whites. This again caused some significant logistical challenges and forecast rain for the 27thof March forced our hand to finish the Hills on the 25thand provided a short break in local red harvest, whilst sugar levels dropped from the rain and some minor splitting occurred. A quick inspection confirmed however that flavour was excellent and with a few days of warm and dry weather prior to additional rain forecast for Easter, we made the call to harvest all remaining fruit; one third of our harvest over 3 days. Two weeks later and we are all still a bit weary from working around the clock managing pump-overs, draining and pressing, but we are excited about wine quality. 

The 2023 vintage has not been without its challenges, but in the end I think wine quality will be only a shade under the great 2021 and 2022 vintages, perhaps on par with 2017; also a challenging one, but we still made some very good wines. We seem to have a tough vintage every 6 years and have established our processing plans and infrastructure to cope. I think that we are reaping the rewards of this investment in our vines, equipment, people and culture, and have certainly experienced a better vintage than most.  The standout varieties from this year are Grenache and Cabernet with some excellent Malbec and a few great Shiraz parcels from Langhorne Creek, whilst Riesling and Pinot Gris are probably the best from the Hills.

Paul Hotker