Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Quick, quick, slow: it's a vintage tune

It got off to a flying start, then there was a pause, now it's on again. That's the story of the 2010 vintage on the Granite Belt.

No sooner had the winemakers washed up the glasses from the festive season than the first grapes came in for processing, albeit these first grapes were from hotter areas west of Stanthorpe. Local Granite Belt grapes started to come off two weeks earlier than usual as a result of warm conditions which accelerated the ripening.

Most of the whites have now been picked with some chardonnay still remaining. For those looking for a bit more technical information you'll be interested to learn that yields are lower than in 2009 with both reduced bunch numbers and smaller berry size. However the quality of the white grape crush is looking good with strong flavours. Five days of extensive heat at the end of January was followed by cooler weather and rain which has slowed ripening of the remaining whites to be harvested.

Red grapes will be ready in a few weeks, although some vineyards may be picking Tempranillo sooner than that. Tempranillo is performing well on the Granite Belt and a favourite drop on the popular Strange Bird alternative wine trail.

The chance of continued rain means Stanthorpe viticulturalists are cautious of Botrytis setting in, however Granite Belt vineyards are generally very well protected from the disease.

Granite Belt wines continue to stamp their superiority over other producers in Queensland as evidenced by the results of the recent Parliament House blind tasting in Brisbane.