Clare Valley wine producers predict bumper crop

One of South Australia’s biggest wine-producing regions is experiencing a delayed harvest, but despite the slow start winemakers are predicting a bumper crop this season.

Winemakers across the Clare Valley have seen the harvest season fall about three weeks behind schedule because of a wetter than average summer across the valley. Taylors Wines senior brand ambassador Cherry Stowman, who is based in the Clare Valley, said high rainfall and cooler temperatures during September and October had also contributed to the grapes’ slow development throughout the region.

“Normally we start around the first week of February,” she said. “But the cool weather that we’ve had through the end of September during spring has delayed everything in terms of the development of the vines.”

Ms Stowman said based on the growing schedule, the grapes would be ready for harvest by the end of February. The late start to harvest is a stark contrast to last year’s vintage, which for many kicked off during mid-January. Ms Stowman said it was a challenging time of year for wine producers in the Clare Valley.

“About this time of year the problem is obviously with humidity and the mildew-style diseases that are associated with those kinds of conditions,” she said

“This time of year is challenging because you can spray your crops as a prevention method, but those sprays have what’s called withholding periods, so basically if you spray there’s a certain number of days that you can’t harvest any crop. “So it’s a real tense time when you have this kind of weather for winemakers and growers.

“They’re desperate to protect their crops from those kinds of conditions, but at the same time they might not be able to apply the kinds of measures that they want to because of this withholding period.”

Originally Published by ABC Rural, continue reading here.

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