In 2017 the Barossa winter was a cold and dry season until June, but soils were topped up with above average rainfall throughout July and August. Further rainfall in spring coincided with warmer temperatures, resulted in good canopy growth and bunch formation, setting up the vineyards for the summer months. During the summer of 2018 no rainfall took place however temperatures were relatively mild. December and January experienced 2 small bursts of heat, but thankfully the season has progressed without any significant heatwaves.
The 2018 harvest team started preparing the winery in early February for the arrival of grapes. Our regular team of 6 strong swelled with the arrival of 7 vintage interns, originating from Australia, China, Italy, France and the USA, all adding to the great culture of Torbreck by bringing language, cuisine and experience to this very important time of the year.
The Torbreck 2018 vintage commenced on the 12th February, harvesting Semillon from the Philippou vineyard in the western edge of Rowland Flat. By the beginning of April, our other white varieties of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier had all been picked and are now completing fermentation or resting in oak. Good flavours were achieved across the sites and show great vibrancy and texture. Vintage continues to progress at a comfortable pace, moving slowly from the Hillside vineyard at Lyndoch in the southern Barossa through to Ebenezer in the north.
At this stage we are about half way through the season and anticipate picking for another month, concluding by early May.
To date only Shiraz has been harvested from the red varieties. Yields have been slightly down due to the drier conditions over summer, however the slow ripening from the mild temperatures has allowed for great colour and flavour development.
As we progress into April, we will complete the harvest of the later northern Barossa and Eden Valley Shiraz sites and return back to the southern Barossa to commence the Grenache and Mataro harvest. These varieties are looking very promising also, as the vines have flourished in the conditions, producing fruit with thick skins and firm berries.
Whilst we are a long way from completion, the results so far look very promising for another great season at Torbreck Vintners.