2016 Vintage Outlook

2016 Vintage Outlook

The growing season leading into vintage 2016 has not been without its challenges, with 2015 being the hottest year on record across the globe. Almost all regions in South Australia had some good spring rains to accompany the warm weather, however, which set up fruitful vines with very good, protective canopies.

The vines have lignified very early across all regions, with early development of colour and ripeness of skins and seeds being a feature of the growing season so far. With so much early heat, the vines have built a tough resistance to the hot dry summer with the dryness assisting in keeping the crop level and berry size in check. Vineyards that have had good access to water during the very hot late spring and early summer have fared the best.

But what started out looking like a potentially challenging, hot dry season, is evolving into one that’s showing more and more promise with every passing day. Cool nights and warm, rather than hot, days are closing out the summer, extending ripening and enabling greater flavour development in almost all varieties and regions.

The cooler regions and cooler parts of warm regions are likely to have the best fruit quality in 2016. While it’s still too early to accurately pinpoint the standouts, Barossa and McLaren Vale Shiraz, all reds from Langhorne Creek, Coonawarra Cabernet and Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills are currently looking like my top picks of what is shaping up to be a very good vintage.

Steven Frost - Wolf Blass Senior Winemaker 29/1/16