Australian Vignerons (AV) is concerned about reports of yield reductions in vineyards as a result of delayed scheduling of harvest by purchasing wineries.
While Vintage 18 was certainly a year where flavour development lagged behind Baume increases in many regions, 2018 has also coincided with a change to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code that allows the addition of water. This regulation states:
“Water may only be added to wine, sparkling wine and fortified wine to facilitate fermentation if the water is added to dilute the high sugar grape must prior to fermentation and does not dilute the must below 13.5 degrees Baumé.”
Philip White has written an interesting piece about the potential benefits to wine quality and balance when water additions are made for achieving balance or as a consequence of heatwaves, therefore correcting problems that challenge winemaking practice.
However, AV has heard some concerns from growers who believe that during the last vintage that in some cases fruit was left to “hang” longer than should have been necessary. The cause of their concern is that with extended “hang time” the resulting desiccation can lead to substantial yield loss.
As Philip White has suggested, there are some with concerns that the new regulation relating to water addition may allow some winemakers to leave fruit hanging without them suffering a penalty of fermentation problems of extraction losses, but growers may suffer significant yield penalty.
AV is consulting with its member base to ask growers if they believe this was a problem during the recent vintage. We encourage any member with concerns to contact us and we are looking into whether we can assist.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on (08) 8133 4400.