Vintage 2019 - Part 2

  • Howard Park

Howard Park Owner, Jeff Burch reflects on this year's vintage.

Vintage 2019 is complete! Monday the 29th April was our last Cabernet Sauvignon harvest in Margaret River.

It was a drawn out vintage and not for the feint hearted! There was a known rain forecast for Thursday 18th April so a lot of producers picked early to reduce their risk. We looked hard at our fruit, the level of ripeness, the leaves of the canopy, and decided to wait. There was 25 mm that night and it was pretty stressful in the winery for a couple of days but then we had 10 days of glorious weather. It was warm, little or no wind – perfect autumn days. This enabled us to ensure that the Cabernet Sauvignon was picked with perfect ripeness, especially with ripe tannins – so important for top Cabernets.

Now that fermentations are nearing completion, the overall picture is positive. It’s been a high quality vintage especially for our top end wines. Volumes are down across the board, especially in southern MR and the Great Southern. There will be some lovely wines from this vintage, especially from the producers who waited for the post Easter weather to get that final burst of ripening before the vines shut down for winter.

Looking ahead to vintage 2020 we can already forecast that the harvest anticipated will be on the moderate side. The vines were pushed hard this vintage, with ripening was much later than normal. When this happens the last few weeks of energy have been used to ripen 2019 fruit, instead of going into storage and energy before winter. This means that come spring the vines will start with reduced energy resources at the start of the 2020 vintage, and, despite soil nourishment with composts etc. they will find it difficult to catch up. We can already predict that crop load will be affected but that’s all in the future.

Vintage 2019: Great quality reds and whites but volumes greatly reduced.


Jeff Burch

Read Part one of our 2019 vintage report here.