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Why is Terroir so important?

2017

While a later than normal start to vintage it was reminiscent of vintages 10 years ago. It has been so dry in previous years I think we all forgot what it was like to have a wet year! A solid vintage with later ripening than recent years. Low Baume with intense flavours shows promise for the whites and softness for the reds, with high quality fruit being produced. A hard but exciting vintage. Galafrey celebrates with their 40th Vintage this year.

2016

A dry finish to winter followed by a wet summer provided some difficulty with pest and disease pressure. Since 2007 we have had so many dry summers I think we all forgot how wet the Great Southern can be. Those with experience and a good up to date viticulture program were able to overcome these difficulties and produce a solid vintage of fine fruit. Again Riesling and Shiraz were stellar performers and continue to prove why they are the best known for their strengths in the great southern. To give you an idea of how much rain we have had this area has the approx. yearly rainfall of 600-700mm. In recent drier years that rainfall has been approx. 500mm. This year so far we have received almost 300 mm of rain mostly during vintage! A testing but solid vintage.

2015

Overall vintage we expected good quality wines but falling yields will continue to put pressure on prices and availability. Most vineyards in the WA reported low tonnages so we weren’t alone. But as dry years continue to produce lower yields I think it will be more difficult for WA wineries to produce wines under the $20 mark.

Early rains provided an optimistic start however we were caught by surprise at poor weather during flowering followed by a dry summer which dramatically effected yields with certain varieties like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Riesling and Shiraz continue to be stellar performers with normal yields and excellent quality. No disease or bird pressure. A solid vintage.

2014

A late wet spring followed by a relatively dry summer. While a warm summer, strong canopies protect  the fruit from the harsh dry summer and cool nights ensured slow ripening. An Early start to vinatge showed fruit driven white wines with good acid balance in the vineyard. The Muller and Chardonnay were hit with hail in November effecting flowering and fruit set. It did not damage the quality of fruit however drop the volume by 50%. There will be limited volume available this year.

2013

A late wet spring followed by a relatively dry summer. While a warm summer, strong canopies protect  the fruit from the harsh dry summer and cool nights ensured slow ripening. An Early start to vinatge showed fruit driven white wines with good acid balance in the vineyard.

2012

An unusually wet winter replenished water and soil moistures. Spring was generally dry providing excellent conditions for flowering and fruit set. Warm very dry summer conditions prevailed in December and January, bringing forward vintage by roughly a week. Rain fell during the middle of harvest but there was minimal disease pressure. The cooler weather slowed down ripening and delayed picking. Cabernet is of excellent quality with classic red currant and cassis fruit, leafy overtones, and fine ripe tannins.

2011

A dry spring was followed by a relatively dry and hot early summer. Significant precipitation in January, while easing heat/water stress, but warm dry weather returned in February and continued until harvest. These ideal autumn conditions and cool nights allowed late ripening red wines to excel. The wines are richly concentrated with abundant ripe tannins.

2010

An unusually wet winter replenished soil moistures. Spring was generally dry providing excellent conditions for flowering and fruit set. Warm very dry summer conditions prevailed in December and January, bringing forward vintage by roughly a week. Rain fell during the middle of harvest but there was minimal disease pressure. The cooler weather slowed down ripening and delayed picking. 

2009

Generally a mild growing season with excellent rainfall during spring. Moist conditions promoted some vigour in the vineyard and the need for leaf plucking. Summer was dry and warm. A near perfect season.

2008

After a cool to mild winter and intermittent top up rains, Spring arrived prematurely resulting in early bud burst. After relatively wet conditions over late spring, the weather pattern changed resulting in a long extended period of warm dry temperatures. Hot weather towards the tail end of the growing season accelerated Baume levels, but intermittent rainfall in April, cooled down the canopies and added much needed soil moistures. Normally this might lead to berry burst and disease pressure. The top-up rainfall, however, allowed the fruit to reach optimum tannin/ phenolic ripeness and prevented grape shrivel. The use of sorting tables allowed the winemakers to focus on achieving pristine fruit quality. An outstanding vintage.

2007

A warm Spring followed by a warm to hot summer accelerated shoot growth. Intermittent rains fell but some vineyards relied on supplementary water. Mild conditions prior to harvest allowed the fruit to ripen brilliantly. While this was the warmest and fastest vintage on record, this is a very fine vintage; the reds showing outstanding intensity and power.

2006

A very ordinary vintage marked by cool wet conditions throughout the growing season. Prolonged ripening resulted in fruit being picked six weeks later than usual. Autumn rains hampered vintage resulting in wines of moderate quality. Expect elegant wines with lower than usual alcohols.

2005

A moderate and relatively early vintage. Heavy rains prior to harvest dampened expectations. Vineyards with open canopies and good drainage fared reasonably well. A mild spring followed by a warm dry summer and even ripening season brought hopes of a very fine vintage. While white varieties came up trumps.

2004

A really good vintage. The growing season was marked by generally cool temperatures and even ripening. The generally calm weather allowed excellent fruit set. Dry conditions prevailed with top up rains keeping soil moistures at optimum levels. Humidity levels did increase towards the end of the growing season, but the best vineyards produced some outstanding fruit.

2003

An ordinary vintage. Warm/mild conditions prevailed over summer after a cold mostly dry winter. Intermittent rains dogged some vineyards causing some disease pressure. A rainy March and cold nights made it a difficult vintage. 

2002

A cool spring and poor flowering was followed by a cool/mild elongated summer.Yields were low, but the overall quality was good. The wines will show a cooler spectrum of flavours.

2001

After a very dry winter and some of the lowest water supplies on record beneficial early spring rains arrived moistening soil profiles. Summer was warm and dry allowing a fruit to ripen perfectly. Wines have marvellous intensity and flavour.

2000

A human-factor vintage illustrating that good viticultural practice in a challenging growing season can actually allow a good-quality crop. A drier than usual winter was followed by a wetter than usual summer. Rains during vintage did not help. The vineyards were under considerable disease pressure. 

1999

A difficult vintage. Cool growing conditions throughout the growing season extended the ripening period. March rains created a few problems in the vineyard, although optimum ripeness was achieved. A moderate vintage.

1998

Average winter rains restored soil moistures and dam levels. Summer was essentially dry and warm, but was punctuated by heat waves in November and February. Rain threatened the harvest, although Cabernet fruit was of good quality. Some very good wines were made.

1997

Good spring rains primed the season well. Mild conditions followed by severe heat in January brought on maturity. Suddenly the weather cooled down with constant light rains. Despite all of this, a good vintage.

1996

A very dry growing season followed by heavy rain over Christmas and the New Year restored soil moistures. Summer was generally mild and dry with cool vintage conditions. A very fine Cabernet vintage.

1995

The 1995 vintage began a month earlier than usual in the Great Southern, due to the early onset of warm weather in the district. The summer was long and dry with little or no summer rain. Although water was tight, most growers had adequate supplies for most of the year. Yields overall were average, but quality was excellent. A very fine vintage.

1994

A superb growing season in the Great Southern. Warm and dry conditions prevailed with very little rainfall. The overall fruit quality was brilliant producing wines of excellent definition and flavour.

1993

A mild winter induced a false spring. Cold weather arrived when spring was meant to start. Isolated hailstorms did not help. Summer was cool and dry. Yields were generally low because of problems during flowering. A moderate vintage.

1992

A mild spring followed by fine weather over January and February ensured excellent flavour development. Some vines struggled because of excessive heat before harvest. The red wines are excellent with plenty of depth and colour.

1991

A mild, early growing season was followed by a February heat wave, that caused some problems. Fine, warm conditions and cool nights over the critical ripening period ensured good flavour development. The absence of red gum blossom diverted birds into the vineyards.