The local wine community is heralding Vintage 2021 as one of the best of the 21st Century. Overall, vineyards in the McLaren Vale Wine Region were more productive, with higher yields at harvest, compared to recent seasons. Importantly, the increase in vine yields was combined with excellent quality which was well received by the region’s winemakers.
Summary of vintage 2021 in McLaren Vale
- Heavy rainfall in September and October lead to the wettest Spring since 2016 although, rainfall for this period was close to the long-term mean.
- Rain stopped before flowering - it was the driest November since 1990.
- November was warmer than the mean which pushed flowering through quickly. A mild December and January, both below the long-term mean, with only a short heatwave in January, helped keep vines hydrated and berries turgid.
- There was a bushfire at Cherry Gardens at the end of January. Fortunately, the wind direction took smoke away from the McLaren Vale Wine Region.
- Rain in late January (10 - 20mm) and early February (20 - 30mm), boosted soil moisture but didn’t trigger bunch rot as berries were too hard and green.
- Veraison was later than average which contributed to a long ripening period.
- March was mild and dry which also slowed down ripening.
- Powdery mildew and downy mildew were seen to flare up in late March, however, for most sites this was post-harvest and had no ill affect on the vintage. Bunch botrytis levels were low except for vineyards that had insect damage to berries. This triggered infections and increased levels of disease.
- Post-Harvest weather conditions (March - May) were warmer and drier than the mean.