Nature delivers crushing time for region’s vineyards

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Hail damage at Plantagenet Wines vineyard.
Camera IconHail damage at Plantagenet Wines vineyard. Credit: Alex Johnson

Mother Nature has not been particularly kind to some wineries across the Great Southern region this year, Plantagenet Wines sales manager Alex Johnson says.

At the start of the season there was hardly any rain at all — and at the end there were storms and hail which ruined some of Plantagenet’s harvest.

“Our Crystal Brook vineyard has got 17ha of vineyard land and we lost basically all of that because of the hail,” Mr Johnson said.

He said the team was only a week away from harvest when marble-sized hailstones swept the vineyard and left it with unusable fruit.

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“There were some bunches that could be recovered, but it’s just not economically viable to harvest it,” he said.

“The berries are going to be split and there would be problems.”

Mr Johnson said the rough weather had varied across the region, but it had been a tough year for some Great Southern wineries.

“Fortunately we didn’t suffer any quality loss, but a lot of us do suffer quantity loss,” he said.

“It’s not a doom and gloom story for the whole region because we’ve still got some high quality wines out there.

“There’s just not going to be much of them available.”

Galafrey Wines owner and award-winning winemaker Kim Tyrer said it had also been a tough season for her, with some harvests down by almost 50 per cent.

“The year started off quite dry and our yields are very low,” she said.

“And on top of that we had some thunderstorms and heavy rain coming in as well.”

But all was not lost when they found they could salvage most of the red wine harvest.

“It’s been a difficult vintage, but at the end we managed to do quite well,” she said.

With many Great Southern wineries suffering yield losses, Mr Johnson encouraged everyone to pick up their favourite local wines from the bottleshop.

“With reduced yields in some places, it’s more important now than ever to support your local wineries, especially when most of them are suffering due to Mother Nature’s wrath,” he said.

“Fortunately for the customers, there’s some exceptional quality out there to buy — there just won’t be much of it.

“So the more we can sell locally and directly to our consumers, the better it would be for us.”

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