This year I have had the great opportunity to see the ripening madness of two regions in SA. I have been working as a consultant for the Merlot specialist, Irvine Wines and so have made several day trips to the Eden and Barossa Valleys to check grape maturity levels and taste fermenting wines.
The two regions have many similarities with varieties and picking times, the Barossa being colder at nights and McLaren Vale having less extremes of heat and rain.
There was a general anticipation that we would have all grapes ripen at once so there was a rush to get started crushing. However the year didn’t repeat that of 2015 and the season became a steady constant flow of ripe fruit and generally quantities were up by 10% on previous years.
Watch out for a star performance by some Shiraz grown at Stokes Bay on Kangaroo Island, which we picked in time to catch the 5 am ferry to the Vale. Cheers, Mark Maxwell.