Late harvest offers a vintage challenge

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Winemakers throughout the Great Southern have hailed the 2017 vintage as one of the latest in recent memory.

A cold and wet winter followed by a mild summer forced a number of local wineries to show patience during what many described as a challenging yet rewarding vintage.

Wignalls Winery owner Rob Wignall said it had been a unique harvest.

“It was a super special year, very reminiscent of 2006 — we have broken every record in the book,” he said.

“Yields were high and we have never crushed grapes in May before. It was a long and challenging vintage but I’m rapt with what we’ve produced.”

Rockliffe head winemaker Michael Ng said the weather had played a role in the late start.

“It was definitely later than normal — the weather has been quite different this year,” he said.

“From a winemaking and viticulture point of view, the good vineyards were the ones who managed the vineyards, put the effort in and were rewarded with some really good quality grapes and wine.”

Galafrey Wines winemaker Kim Tyrer indicated it was a long vintage.

“It was reminiscent of the way it used to be about 10 years ago,” she said. “There wasn’t a lot of sun — it was a long vintage but we’re really happy.”

Frankland River Wine Makers and Grape Growers Association president Hunter Smith said the region had recorded a good vintage.

“It was a very cold and wet winter and an early spring, which delayed bud burst and restricted early growth,” he said.

“Then there was a mild summer which gave us a really nice season — a classic vintage in the Frankland region.

“It was a year to be patient but from all accounts the results have been fantastic.”

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