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2014 vintage report for Granite Belt (Queensland)

According to Golden Grove Estate owner Sam Costanzo, it had been a difficult season this year with an early budburst, two late frosts, hail storms, successive heatwaves through summer and more birds fluttering about than usual.
While the region was hit with all sorts of issues, vines in the Granite Belt region were used to the hardship and have produced some fine examples of the many varieties grown.
The early budburst and hot conditions through summer meant most varieties were harvested earlier than usual and overall yields were down due to the late frosts and hail storms.
“These frosts played havoc with a small percentage of vineyards with some growers experiencing up to 70 per cent loss of crop and others had their crops wiped out in the hailstorms that crossed the region,” Costanzo said.
“Some growers had a double hit losing up to 80 per cent of their crops.”
He said although it wasn’t one of the easiest seasons, the growers who weren’t badly affected by frosts and hail blows ended up with some of the highest quality crops.
“It sounds ironic that such good quality was achieved even with these forces of nature playing their part,” Costanzo said.
“The remaining fruit after the frosts and hail gave way to more intense flavours to the remaining crop.”
At the time of this report (14 April) it was too early to give a final assessment of results, but winemakers said this vintage may beat 2012 in terms of quality of the wines produced.
“When you hear the winemaker whistling along through the processing, it is always a good indication of a happy winemaker,” Costanzo said.
Most varieties have performed well, including recently planted varieties such as Fiano, Vermentino, Pinotage, Sangiovese, Graciano and Saparavi.
The market will be looking at the release of this year’s wines within the next 12 months for whites and 24 months for the reds.
New varieties planted within the past 12 months include Petit Manseng and Montepulciano.