The 2013 vintage in the Barossa will be remembered as the driest, earliest and quickest vintage in memory.
In 2013 there were 13,655 hectares of vineyards in Barossa and 53,626 tonnes of wine grapes were crushed in that vintage.
Spring rainfall was also well below average, leading to variable vine growth across the region. The variable weather also saw a number of hot days above 35°C in both October and November.
The flowering period was particularly volatile, with a number of violent lightning storms damaging the emerging inflorescences. This, combined with the dry conditions which continued into December and January, led to poor fruit set in most varieties.
A heat spell of temperatures over 33° from 12-18 February caused many vineyards to lose more of their potential yield, and baumés jumped dramatically.
Many vineyards were harvested by the end of February/early March – a month or so earlier than 2012. Almost all vineyards were picked by the end of March, the earliest ever finish to vintage in memory. Yields were generally below average, but quality of both reds and whites looks strong.
Riesling harvested early retained both natural acidity and great flavours. Reds are showing excellent and balanced colours, flavours and tannins; Grenache may prove to be the real standout from the 2013 vintage, but Shiraz won’t be far behind.
SA Wine Grape Crush Survey, Vinehealth Australia and ‘Barossa Vintages: a wine history from 1842’, Peter Fuller