Harvest buzz in vineyards

TASMANIA’S wineries and vineyards are abuzz with activity as the first grapes, destined for sparkling wine, are gradually being harvested from vineyards.

Wine Tasmania CEO Sheralee Davies said early reports from wine producers in terms of quality are positive.

Intermittent cool weather and rain events in some areas have slowed the ripening process of grapes, meaning that the season is slightly behind its usual timing.

However, reports from across the state indicate that quality to date is high.

Contrasting predictions regarding the quantity of grapes likely to be harvested from different areas – influenced predominantly by cool spring weather – has reflected the diversity of Tasmania’s microclimates.

Despite this variability, general predictions are that yields will be in line with medium term averages.

“No two seasons are the same in Tasmania and this year is certainly, yet again, highlighting this fact,” Ms Davies said.

Tasmania has a cool and variable climate, which brings exceptional quality but also great risk.

“Our growers and winemakers work tirelessly to expertly manage seasonal conditions and produce the best possible wine each vintage.”

Ms Davies said Tasmania had successfully built a global reputation for its outstanding wines, as reflected in the value of local grapes (4.5 times the national average) and bottled wine (double the country’s average).

“Despite Covid-19 challenges and border closures, visitation to the island’s cellar doors remains strong, with 25 per cent of visitors to Tasmania, about 160,000 people, choosing to include a cellar door experience in their itineraries last year.”

While cooler conditions have created challenges, so too have the few short periods of warmer weather experienced in the state, which bring the risk of fires and smoke.

“Vineyards are particularly susceptible to smoke exposure, which can irreparably damage wine grapes and the livelihood of wine producers for the full season and their year’s efforts.”

Ms Davies strongly encourages Tasmanians living in grape growing areas to think about and discuss the impacts of smoke on neighbouring vineyards before lighting fires.

“The potential impact of smoke is one of the greatest concerns for wine producers at this time of the year, who will continue to harvest for several months through to the end of May.”

“We encourage anyone planning to light a fire on a residential or commercial property in the months ahead to consult with the Tasmania Fire Service and nearby vineyards before igniting their burn to ensure they don’t inadvertently cause major damage.”

“The thousands of people across the Tasmanian wine community do what they do because they truly believe this little island is among the best places on the planet to produce outstanding wine.”

“Lovers of Tasmanian wine can look forward to tasting the rewards of the 2022 Tasmanian vintage over the coming months and years.”