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Bumper harvest underway on Qld Granite Belt as vines recover from drought

Generational growers at Ballandean Estate, Queensland’s oldest family-owned and operated winery, are hailing vintage 2022 right on track to make up for years of drought, bushfire and hail.

“We’ve had the wettest year in over 30 years on the Granite Belt. Combining that with an exceptionally cool spring and summer is delivering an abundance of beautiful fruit. We are lucky to have escaped the heavy rainfall hitting much of southeast Queensland,” said fourth-generation vigneron Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi.

“We harvested just 7.5 tonnes of fruit in 2020, a vintage heavily impacted by the end of drought and a hailstorm. In 2021, Ballandean Estate was fortunate enough to bring in 90 tonnes of fruit.

“This year, we are seeing our vines, some of which are amongst the oldest in Australia, well on their way to a full recovery from drought with a harvest of 100 tonnes expected.

“In 2023, we expect to return to full production of 150 tonnes when our baby Shiraz, Chardonnay and Merlot vines begin producing fruit.

“Today we picked and crushed nine tonnes of viognier, making that 30 tonnes of white varietals processed since the start of 2022.

“Semillon is a surprise performer, we were expecting two tonnes and harvested six tonnes. Our white varietals are golden and clean, just magnificent this vintage, especially our much-loved Malvasia.,” Puglisi-Gangemi said.

“We’ve managed to escape the disease pressure the region has been under. This wet weather has seen our vines as happy as Larry, thanks to strict vineyard management and the many years of combined grapegrowing experience between Dad (estate founder Angelo Puglisi) and Robyn Robertson (Ballandean Estate vineyard manager).

“The western escarpment of the Granite Belt has a unique microclimate. Our grapes have a very different rain requirement to the apples and stone fruit grown in other parts of the Granite Belt.  This rain has been perfect timing for our red fruit’s last growing spurt before harvest in three weeks’ time. Bloody good news here!” Puglisi-Gangemi concluded.

 

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