2024 grape harvest set for a good vintage: ‘The proof of the bottle will be in the tasting’

Pickers at Mount Tumbarumba Vineyard bringing in the 2024 Pinot Gris

By Mark Simpson

Tumbarumba vignerons are preparing to put their feet up for a breather as the 2024 vintage is all but complete.

Stuart Barclay, president of the Tumbarumba Vignerons Association, said that most growers have finished their harvest.

“There are just some of the later varieties to come in but everyone’s pretty well finished for the season,” he said.

“Most that I’ve talked to have had a good result; good amount of fruit and of good quality.”

There were fears in January that the wet, humid summer and threat of fungal disease were going to be a big problem. As The Times reported, fingers were crossed for an improvement in the weather and drier conditions.

Barclay said that they were rewarded.

“Yes, really happy. We had a dry, warm end to the season and few problems with fungal disease.”

Barclay said that if the feedback from wine makers was anything to go by this was one of the best crops for some years.

“They are genuinely excited,” he said.

“The quality of grapes has been excellent with good levels of flavours and the quantities have been good too. It’s some of the best feedback we’ve ever had.”

Some growers have not been quite so fortunate with a number of vineyards hit by frost early in the season.

Richard Cottam from Mount Tumbarumba Vineyard said the losses to frost varied depending on variety with Chardonnay most affected.

“I had pretty well given up on the Chardonnay but we managed to get about a tonne off in the end,” said Cottam.

“The Pinot Noir was not so bad but still well down. Overall, our crop was about 30 percent lower than normal. On the bright side, a new block of Pinot Meunier that we planted in 2020 had a good crop of very impressive fruit this vintage,” he said.

It is a bit of a grower’s cliché he agreed, “quality up, quantity down”.

They are now in discussions with their winemaker as how to best utilise the crop and styles they will produce for the 2024 vintage.

The Tumbarumba region is spread out and diverse geographically. Barclay agrees that the weather, or poor weather, can vary greatly from vineyard to vineyard.

“One vineyard can get 1mm of rain when on the other side of town they had 20 or 30mm. Hail? Well, hail varies all over the place,” he laments.

“Of course it is early in the vintage process. While the growers can be relieved that their precious grapes are safely in, it is now over to the wineries to craft them into the final product. But we won’t know for a while.

“We’ll see some of the young styles going into bottle later in the year; the Pinot Gris and some others. But the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs will still be at least a year or 18 months away,” said Barclay.

Overall, the season appears to have gone well and Barclay said that the wine makers are looking forward to some very good wine from the ’24 vintage.

The proof of the bottle will be in the tasting.

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