Season of grape expectation

THE TASMANIAN wine industry had an extremely strong 2021, with growth in volume and quality across the vines greatly surpassing national averages, and much of that same quality is expected for 2022, with greater quantity.

Tasmanian wine producers picked up a raft of awards over the last year, with special recognition given to Puddleduck Vineyard, who won five trophies at the 2021 Melbourne Wine Show; Bream Creek, Clover Hill and House of Arras winning awards at the 2021 Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships; and 10 Tasmanian wines being named in James Halliday’s Top 100 wines of 2021 – Arras, Apogee, Freycinet (two), Pirie, Tolpuddle, Stargazer (two) and Pooley.

All the pinot noir gold medal winners at the 2021 Sydney Royal Wine Show were Tasmanian, and Tasmania was the most searched wine region on winecompanion in 2021.

The state’s wine grape vintage was up 18 per cent by volume for 2021, with the wine sector contributing around $200 million to Tasmania’s economy, as well as employing more than 2000 people.

The quality of Tasmanian wine grapes was also reflected, their record value of $3146 per tonne eclipsing the national average of $701.

Sheralee Davies, CEO of Wine Tasmania said the awards given over the last year were recognition of the quality produce coming out of Tasmania.

“At the moment, things are looking pretty good this season,” Ms Davies said,
“We had cooler, wetter weather in the second half of last year and into the spring, which slowed things down a little, so we’ve had a few vineyards reporting they are behind about two weeks but that’s just part of different seasons.”

That feeling of cautious optimism is being shared by growers across the state.

Paul Sillifant, of Kinvarra Estate in Plenty, said provided he can get the pickers, their season should be a strong one.

“At the moment, the season is looking very good, we had great flowering weather through December, with little wind, it was better than usual,” Dr Sillifant said.
“Usually, we have backpackers picking our grapes, but over the last year we’ve used a mix of locals and backpackers, which works well for us.”

Harvesting of grapes is expected to begin around March, and vineyard owners have called for anyone interested in working during that time to contact them well prior to the season.