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Although the Clare Valley wine industry had been challenged this season, vintage 2014 is set to deliver some top quality wines, according to Clare Valley Winemakers Incorporated president Neil Paulett and Clare Regional Winegrape Growers Association president Troy van Dulken.
The season began with a mild spring with very little frost or rain, followed by a long and dry summer with extreme heat conditions through to 14 February when some parts of the Valley received more than 100mm of rain.
Paulett and Dulken said fortunately the rain resulted in minimal split and only isolated pockets of disease in some white varieties.
Since mid-February there had been mild days and cool nights, which were ideal ripening conditions for mid-late season varieties.
Fruit quality was good to excellent although heat and rain affected some fruit, particularly early ripening varieties in the earlier sub-regions.
Vineyards without adequate water supply suffered from premature leaf fall leading to sunburn and heat effects, but overall canopies held out considering the conditions.
Yields were slightly below average with Shiraz and Riesling showing solid crops.
Cabernet Sauvignon was below average but produced some excellent fruit later in the vintage period.
Paulett and Dulken said outstanding Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon were expected in 2014, especially from later ripening vineyards.
This vintage is slightly below average in terms of production, but will be a very good follow to the excellent 2012 and 2013 vintages, once again reinforcing the reputation of the Clare Valley wine region in terms of consistency and quality, they said in a combined statement to Grapegrower & Winemaker.