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Margaret River 2014 harvest ‘strongest yet’ for white wines

Winemakers in Western Australia's Margaret River region are becoming increasingly confident that 2014 will be one of their best vintages yet for white wines.

Harvest time at Voyager Estate in Margaret River. Image Credit: Alex Miller / Voyager Estate

Most white grapes have been picked and optimism is high, despite Margaret River experiencing the wettest winter on record last year.

Juniper Estate winemaker Mark Messenger said a mild summer with cool nights meant grapes held their acids, which should make for a finer style of Chardonnay.

‘The whites are looking fantastic with ripe flavours, low sugar levels and good natural acidity. This is undoubtedly one of the better vintages we have seen in the past five years and surpasses our excellent 2010 vintage,’ he told decanter.com.

Voyager Estate winemaker Steve James said, ‘I have never been more thrilled by the quality of fruit than what we are seeing this year. The flavour development and concentration at such low sugar levels has us all excited. It will be one of the strongest white wine vintages yet.’

That said, spring storms have reduced Chardonnay yields by up to 40% at some vineyards.

Clive Otto, winemaker at Fraser Gallop, said buds were at a particularly delicate stage when the wild weather arrived.

‘In contrast, Semillon yields are up by 20% and the fruit is showing a wonderful natural acidity,’ he said. ‘As the early sea breezes have kept the vineyards cool, I expect our reds will also be outstanding.’

In other parts of Australia, there are some concerns about what a severe summer heatwave may mean for the 2014 harvest.

Early expectations are for a slightly smaller crop, especially in more temperate regions like southeastern Australia, analysts at Rabobank said in a recent report.

Written by Danielle Costley in Margaret River

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