Frost lowers yields for vintage

EARLY signs from vintage suggest last week's heatwave will not have a major effect on wine quality but last year's black frost could cut the quantity.

Griffith sweltered through five consecutive days of 40 degrees last week but the hot winds that usually accompany such heat waves were missing, much to the relief of wineries.

Calabria Family Wines' Andrew Calabria said the quality of this year's grapes was good but he felt for his local family suppliers who had hoped for a big yield before their vines were decimated by frost.

"A lot of our family growers, both small and large, come from around town and most of them have been impacted by the frost in some way.

"Some growers took a really big hit from the frost, which is unfortunate because earlier on there were promising signs of big yields.

Calabria Family Wines which changed its name from Westend Estate over new year to reinforce its local ties had begun vintage by crushing the Semillon variety.

"The quality is definitely there so that's positive but the tonnage will be well down," Mr Calabria said.

While the heat didn't tarnish a large amount of grapes, it was expected to reduce the duration of vintage as grapes matured faster on the vine.

Casellas Wine's Luke Edwards said their local grapes were looking pretty good thanks to cool night-time temperatures throughout the growing season.

"The hot weather has caused the vines to ripen early so we started crushing last week and by January 18 we had done 3300 tonnes," Mr Edwards said.

"This week we are crushing about 2000 tonnes per day, mainly chardonnay for sparkling wines.

"We are also well into the swing of picking pinot gris, some of the early muscats and sauvignon blanc varieties."

Mr Edwards said any damage from last week's intense heat was isolated to young grape vines.

"The main thing with the heatwave was that we didn't endure the extreme winds, which meant the heatwave only had a minimal impact," he said.

"Unfortunately the exception was that some younger vines with small canopies and more exposed fruit developed some sunburn characteristics."

Mr Edwards said the company was in the process of determining a price for the grapes and would release them on, or prior to, January 30.

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