Barossa 2016 Vintage Progress Report (as at Wednesday 24 March 2016)
The 2016 Barossa vintage is shaping up to be a stand-out, with strong indications of very high quality and yields generally above the five year average.
As at 16 March, winemakers have been reporting dense colour, and rich, vibrant flavours in Barossa Shiraz. A fortuitous 1.5 inches of rain fell from 21 January, followed by generally mild conditions throughout late January/February, which saw phenology keep up with sugar levels in Shiraz – lots of brown, crunchy seeds early, yielding rich, ripe tannins.
The mild conditions have also been kind to Barossa whites including Semillon, Chardonnay – and Riesling in Eden Valley – which built delicate flavours slowly, whilst retaining crisp acid levels.
Harvest of Barossa Valley Shiraz has been underway for about seven weeks, with 95% picked. The remainder of the other key varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Mataro will be harvested by the end of March.
Yields reported for Shiraz so far have generally been between average to 10-20% or more above the five year average, but still likely to be below the 10 year average.
In Eden Valley, Riesling and Viognier has been harvested, with picking of Shiraz in progress. Cabernet Sauvignon will be harvested mid-late March/early April.
On the evening of 9 March, the Barossa experienced 1.5 to 2.5 inches of rain, after which sugar levels dipped slightly, giving growers and winemakers another ‘breather’ to get fruit through ferments before picking again.
Nicki Robins, Viticultural Development Officer, Barossa Grape & Wine Association
(in conjunction with the Barossa VitiTech Group)
2016 Vintage Photo Gallery at: flickr.com/barossadirt