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1997 vintage report for Padthaway (South Australia)

Chardonnay from the 1997 vintage in Padthaway will be ‘exceptional’, according to Chris Greig, president of Padthaway Grapegrowers Association. He said the Rieslings were lower yielding but had fine flavour and other white varieties all matured to anticipated Baume levels. Chris described the 1997 reds as ‘excellent’, particularly Shiraz and Merlot. District levels of Cabernet had been reduced, but the quality was ‘very good.’ Vintage started on 28 February, about normal for the area and overall yields were average. The weather was fine and dry during vintage. Chris said the relatively cool March indicated low levels of powdery mildew and botrytis with no effect on quality. The warm and dry autumn promoted excellent fruit quality with maturation. ‘Quality has been enhanced where cropping levels have been contained,’ Chris said. ‘Several new growers harvested first crops and achieved excellent results.’ Earlier BRL Hardy winemaker Peter Dawson said a near-perfect season in Padthaway coupled with a managed crop-reduction strategy had yielded ‘extraordinary volumes of high quality Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon — undoubtedly the best vintage we have had there in 24 years.’