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1997 vintage report for Great Southern (Western Australia)

A heatwave in early January and a period of drizzly, cloudy weather in March combined to make this a difficult vintage, with yields reduced as a result, reports Tony Smith, spokesman for the Great Southern region of Western Australia. The weather cleared to fine warm days in late March and April. Moulds developed in late March but were controlled. Tony said yields were down by 15% but the weather had little or no effect on quality, except in small patches on individual vineyards. ‘Reds are on the high side of average and the fruit quality will still be very good,’ he said. ‘In the whites, Rieslings in particular are excellent, with all other whites showing good fruit characters.’ Tony said this was not the vintage of the century. ‘However producers are satisfied to have come through this vintage with wines which will once again put the Great Southern at the forefront of Western Australian wine production, particularly on a quality basis.’