THE quantity from this year’s Shoalhaven wine harvest may have been down but according to president of the Shoalhaven Coast Wine Industry Association, Barry Starkey, the quality was up.
Mr Starkey, who owns Mountain Ridge Wines at Shoalhaven Heads, said most vineyards were down on production after an extremely dry season.
“But by all reports the quality of the grapes picked was excellent,” he said.
However, Mr Starkey’s own winery bucked the trend, with strong returns, a factor he puts down to being “lucky enough to have enormous supplies of water”.
While he didn’t suffer as much in the hot, dry weather, he did lose a number of vines in the recent tornado that ripped through the region.
“We had a number of cabernet vines across the road at the old Seven Mile Vineyard and we lost those along with about 90 gum trees,” he said.
Cellar door manager at Coolangatta Estate Wines Ben Wallis said the harvest finished last week with the overall results pleasing considering the conditions growers faced.
“It was a tough season, it was very dry, then very wet and then we had tornados; we had a bit of everything,” he said.
“Overall, considering the season we had, we were pretty happy with our results.
“Unfortunately, there was no cabernet sauvignon this season, the weather was just too much for it,” he said.
“But we were delighted with the results of the variety of reds on the property.
“We finished the chambourcin and tempranillo and tamaat last week.
“They have proven to be a great success and have reinforced owner Greg Bishop’s decision to plant these alternative red varieties.
“They may not be as well known but they proved their viticulture suitability to our region.
“They withstood everything, the heat, rain and tornadoes.
“Our yield may have been down, probably about 30 per cent, but we knew that would be the case after fruit set but the quality has been fantastic and our winemakers of 23 years, Tyrrell’s, are delighted with what we have produced.
“We may have been down in quantity, but the quality is there – sometimes it means less is best.”