Winemakers set for quality vintage

NORTH East winegrowers are expecting lower yields after spring frosts, but believe the grapes they will harvest are high quality.

Temperate summer weather has meant low stress for vines, which are on track for harvest in mid to late February.

Winemakers of Rutherglen chairman Damien Cofield said he hoped the milder conditions would continue.

“Things are looking fairly good; the fruit we’ve got is looking in really good condition,” he said.

“It’s pleasing to see the vines affected by the frost have rebounded well and with strong vigour leading to healthy shoot growth.”

Mr Cofield said limited vines had also been affected by minor hail damage.

Chris Pfeiffer, of Pfeiffer Wines, said the frost had hit patches of his vineyard.

“It’s a bit of a knock in the guts when it all gets burnt off,” he said.

“Things have been going good since then, a lot is getting grown but it’s not as fruitful.

“We are anticipating lower yields.”

But he said the remaining grapes would have great flavour.

Andrew Cofield, of Cofield Wines, said 90 per cent of one of his vineyards had been wiped out by the frost, although only 2 per cent was hit in another.

“After the frost, it’s all looking pretty good,” he said.

“The fruit that is there is going to be pretty awesome by the look of it.

“There is just going to be less of it.”

Susie Campbell, of Campbells of Rutherglen, said she hoped for a better 2014 vintage after a challenging 2013.

“The weather has been fantastic so far,” she said.

“The days haven’t been too hot and the nights have been cool for retaining the acid balance in the grapes.”

Meanwhile, the University of Adelaide has found cabernet sauvignon to be the world’s most widely grown grape variety.

The university complied information from 44 countries to develop the first database of the world’s wine-grape varieties and regions.

Damien Cofield said he wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“It’s such a good variety that performs well in a variety of climates,” he said.

“We need to be concentrating on the right varieties in the right regions and right sites.”

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