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Sizzled fruit: grower suggests industry review

Bethany grapegrower, Trevor Klose says wineries and growers will need to look at vintages very closely if the season continues to change.

This month he and his wife, Charmane were faced with the possibility of not selling their Merlot grapes as they continued to swelter on the vines.

“If the weather stays as it is then we have to get better equipment,” Trevor Klose said.

“Everybody’s fruit was ready to pick, there was a lot of fruit coming in and with the excess Baume there was a refrigeration problem.”

Klose’s comments came as he lost half of his Merlot due to the unexpected heatwave.

With the region experiencing temperatures in the mid 30s for 13 days, Klose said each hot day meant fruit was increasing in sweetness with the Baume being around 21–23.

“Wineries can only take so much and therefore the growers suffer.

“Our fruit was ready to be picked at the beginning of March and I think everyone was in the same situation – it doesn’t matter if you are a small or large grower.

Wine Barossa chairman, Allister Ashmead said it has been a very unusual season.

“The yield was much milder than expected until the heatwave hit,” Ashmead said.

“As a result everything ripened at once and there wasn’t enough fermentation space to bring the fruit in all at once.”

Ashmead said winemakers each year think vintage will all happen at once and this year it really happened.

“It is very unusual for the Barossa, the heat has taken affect and brought the ripening forward.

“There has been a lot of natural moisture lost and it has increased the Baume to high levels.

Ashmead said fruit with amazing quality has been produced and 2008 is likely to a sought-after year.

by Emma Moreland The Leader, Wednesday, 26 March, 2008

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