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2020 Tasmanian Vintage - Quality Up, Quantity Down!

This year’s Tasmanian wine grape vintage presented a number of challenges for the sector, with local producers working hard to craft exceptional quality grapes and wines from a lower than average yield, according to peak body Wine Tasmania.

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Wine Tasmania Technical Officer, Paul Smart, said that quality from the 2020 Tasmanian wine grape vintage looked to be outstanding, with highlights including Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for both still and sparkling wines, as well as aromatic white wines, such as Riesling, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.

“Overall, yields were down approximately 28% on the 2019 vintage, roughly equating to 890,000 cases (dozens) of wine, with 12,308 tonnes produced in 2020.”

“The island is both one of the most challenging and the most rewarding places to grow grapes in Australia - there are no two seasons and no two vineyards the same. Our dedicated grape growers have to be highly skilled to deal with the variabilities and extremes, as they again demonstrated in 2019/20.”

“Regardless of vineyard location, the 2019/20 season will be remembered as one of the most challenging in recent years, from the initial budburst in spring through to a delayed harvest throughout March, April and May”, said Mr Smart.

Most of this pressure came from Mother Nature, with a cooler than average season, lengthening the time to harvest and causing a slower harvest. Cold and constant winds during spring resulted in smaller bunches and impacted on overall yields. For some areas, lack of rain was a challenge, while significant rainfall in other areas close to harvest created a different type of challenge.

“However, we were fortunate to have been spared from bushfires and we extend our sympathies to our interstate colleagues impacted by the devastating bushfires this year.”

With viticulture and other agricultural activities being deemed essential services during COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 vintage continued largely unimpeded in Tasmania. There are broader impacts on the livelihood of Tasmanian wine businesses, due to restrictions in cellar door visitation and licensed premises, such as restaurants and bars around the country.

“Tasmanian wine lovers will soon be able to taste the first wines from the 2020 vintage, and we are encouraging people to buy directly from their favourite wine producers wherever possible.”

“This will help Tasmania’s small wine producers during these challenging times, as well as bring a little flavour of Tasmania to wine lovers as we start to welcome Tasmanians back to our cellar doors and look forward to welcoming interstate visitors over the coming months.”

The full 2020 Tasmanian wine grape vintage report and video interviews with wine producers can be accessed at https://winetasmania.com.au/vintage2020.

Further information:

Paul Smart, Technical & Extension Officer, Wine Tasmania - 03 6223 3770