Home » News » Vintage has been slow, late and steady

Vintage has been slow, late and steady

Vintage has been slow, late and steady

Prue Henschke and the team from Henschke Cellars, Keyneton are amidst wrapping up their 2017 vintage this week.

The end of the Shiraz and Cabernet harvest has just come about, but Prue and the team will still be picking the late varieties, including Nebbiolo, Graciano, Barbera and a couple of new varieties, Maturana Tinta and Counoise.

Prue explained that this year’s vintage has been slow, steady and late.

“We knew it was going to be late but all is looking beautiful,” said Prue.

“From our phenology data,we worked out we’d be picking somewhere into May. We started picking the Verjus on the last day of February, but the main picking started with Riesling. It’s just been steady from then on.”

At Henschke, the team did a lot of crop thinning to pace out the Shiraz, which was set to ripen all at once. The bird netting had to come off and be replaced. Extra sprays of Ecocarb were applied for powdery mildew so it was a very busy time. 

 “I have my own trials I run. I have a wonderful trial on a grower’s vineyard with a range of grass swards in the mid-row, looking at the impacts of Tall Fescue, Windmill Grass and Wallaby Grass,” said Prue.

“They filled up the mid row and we’re pretty pleased to collect yield and maturity data from such a well set up trial.” 

Other trials that Prue harvested were a mass selection of Mataro and winemaking trials on Grenache Gris and Maturana Tinta.

According to Prue, good winter rains have always been a reliable indicator for great vintages, with the records showing exactly that.

However the Barossa and Eden Valley regions experienced a very cool spring, so Prue and the team paid special attention to the internode length.

“The internode length was very short which made us panic a bit about botrytis, so we crop thinned to space out the bunches,” said Prue.

“Then the Spring winds were quite ferocious around flowering, so poor set helped open up the bunches.

For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.

“The rain didn’t impact too much on the vintage overall; there was some late downy mildew that thankfully dried out.”

Prue explained that the timing of Easter is an indicator of when the old single vineyard Shiraz’s ripen.