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Queensland reports a dramatic decline for vintage 2020 due to drought

By Samuel Squire

The overall outlook for vintage 2020 in Queensland’s wine regions is grim, with the state’s wine industry body reporting a yield loss of over 95% state-wide.

Queensland Wine Industry Association president and Sirromet Wines director of viticulture and chief winemaker, Mike Hayes, has reported that this significant crop loss is the result of abhorrent drought.

“Queensland in general has sustained a reduction in vintage of over 95%. Nearly all vineyards were decimated with crop loss due to the drought,” he said.

“Sirromet Wines and other vineyards have reported a vintage weight of only 2%, yes that is correct 2%.”

Hayes, further commenting on the state of the 2020 vintage, said bushfires in the early parts of the year wreaked havoc in many wine regions in the state.

He said the silver lining through bushfire damages is that growers have been spared the added catastrophe of smoke taint to what little wine fruit they have left.

“Early bushfires played havoc in the Gold Coast, Hinterland and parts of the Granite Belt,” he said, “Smoke tests were performed with minimal damage noted and I haven`t heard of anyone having smoke tainted grapes from the 2020 Vintage”.

Hayes says 2020 has provided many challenges for all in the wine industry so far and that events this year have certainly taken their toll.

However, the fruit that has been spared tragedy is reported to be excellent in quality and flavour.

“Most producers either had a tiny harvest or have simply skipped it entirely,” he said.

“However, the fruit that was harvested, albeit tiny, was exceptional and I personally haven`t seen flavours like this since the early 1980s.”

Some wineries have relied on purchasing fruit from the southern states and, if anything, it seems to have simply filled the void for export.

Hayes reported much-needed rains eventually returned with a ferocious force and the region went “from the outhouse to the outhouse”.

Sirromet, among many in Queensland’s wine regions, experienced the following in one year: budburst without any rain or irrigation on the vineyard for over a year, smoke and fires in early October, frosts in early November, hail in early December, floods in mid-January, caterpillar attack in February and COVID-19 in March.

As Hayes jests, “c’est la vie”.

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Image: Independent Australian