The 2015 vintage in some regions of WA was one of the most challenging in recent years. Smoke, hail, early rain at the end of vintage, very small fruit set and birds impacted on volumes. Yet in others, such as the Swan Valley and the Perth Hills, it was smooth and trouble free. It was just one of those years.
The Swan Valley and Perth Hills had a fairly typical season that was slightly cooler than the previous three vintages. Vintage started in late January and proceeded pretty much without a hiccup.
White varieties, such as the Swan Valley staples of chenin blanc and verdehlo, were particularly good while the reds were also strong, largely as a result of the nice even ripening period. The really good news was fortifieds such as muscat were excellent because of the absence of any heat spikes.
In Margaret River the 2015 harvest unfolded with fine, mild conditions. There were no extreme weather conditions, allowing for balanced fruit and a slow and steady flow into the wineries.
The quality of the fruit was some of the best and continued the remarkable run of nine consecutive vintages. The only disappointment was yields being down across the region for all key varieties.
Chardonnay was predictably the first variety to be picked with some wineries bringing in their fruit in late January. The key characteristic of the chardonnay is lovely balance, flavour and natural acidity.