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2001 vintage report for Tasmania

The following report was supplied by Duncan Farquhar, Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment: The Tasmanian wine industry has reached the beachhead. Three major forces will forge the future for Tasmanian wine. Pinot Noir has found a natural home on this island. Tasmania is gaining momentum as the source of Australia’s finest sparkling wines. A stable of crisp fresh white wines confirm delicacy and elegance as defining this force from Tasmania. Vintage began on 13 March with southern Pinot Noir for sparkling base and finished in late May with Riesling. Vintage 2001 was a warm season for Tasmania’s cool climate. It was another record due to new plantings coming on line and some heavy crops. A severe spring frost on the morning of 17 October in the south caused losses in the Coal Valley, Derwent Valley and on the East Coast. This year also saw the most intense pressure yet, across the state, from European wasps. The severe October frost might provide some lessons for growers in other regions. South-westerly winds blowing off the Southern Ocean gave cold conditions with cold rain between 13 and 16 October. The barometric centre of a high-pressure system moved from near Adelaide to the east of Tasmania on 16 and 17 October, bringing clear, still skies and frosty conditions, especially to the south of the state. Usually around eight high pressure systems influence the state each year during the frost risk period. For growers across the country wishing to predict when a frost may strike, predisposing southerlies will be a useful warning. Grape losses were estimated to affect 15% of the state’s vineyards. Fruit was generally very good across the state for Chardonnay still wines. Some excellent fruit from Cabernet and Bordeaux blend varieties will produce wines with great fruit intensity. Some berries left their pedicel when vintage rains caused berry swell. This was an interesting and widespread effect considered to be due to very high sets and compact bunches. The season started with a cool and wet September, a warm and windy October and good rainfall in a very warm November. December was hot and dry except for a blustery Christmas with some patchy rain. Sets were generally very good. The hot, sunny dry conditions continued until late March, advancing vine development. Easterly rains around harvest time made vintage 2001 a difficult one for the east and south. Growers with well maintained canopies and good early season disease control weathered the humid vintage conditions to emerge on the other side into a bright, sunny very late April. Despite being a generally low acid year must pH was also low. Growers with balanced yields will produce complex wines of characteristic freshness and varietal flavour.