2020 Vision – this is a season to go down in history for a number of reasons. Some related to grapes, others a once in a century pandemic. To say the least we feel very lucky in Western Australia to have had an easier time than our friends in the east this season.
Focusing on grapes, the outstanding 2020 season was early, in stark contrast to the very late 2019 vintage. Budburst kicked off late August, early September, following an above average winter rainfall. Warm, almost summery, conditions occurred through spring encouraging rapid shoot growth with flowering in chardonnay starting mid-October, almost three weeks ahead of averages, and finished quickly resulting in even fruit-set across nearly all varieties. Spring in Margaret River wouldn’t be the same however without at least one cold snap that happened at the end of October; bringing hail, rain and significant winds. It’s timing during fruit-set would play out with significantly lower yields across the region at harvest mainly due to lighter bunch weights.
Warm to very hot conditions followed in November and December accelerating vine development even more; veraison commenced before Christmas in chardonnay, with red varieties in northern areas changing colour around New Years! Everything was going off, including the Marri blossoms. It was game on and we had to shake off the dust and get our vintage heads in gear pronto.
A lovely, long summer with cool evenings followed, perfect ripening conditions, no bird or disease pressure; acids held fabulously in whites, allowing us to make good picking decisions. Cooler conditions with a couple of cold fronts passing through in March aided in easing the ripening of the reds, sufficiently to ensure good flavour and tannin development.
La Kooki’s harvest started with our Wilyabrup pinot noir on 31 January – never done that before! Chardonnay in Wallcliffe and Karridale handpicked on 5 February and verdelho, for the Carbonic Blanc, arrived ten days later, whites all done by mid-February. Crazy! Red grape harvest followed in March with tempranillo from Ferguson Valley, Geographe, being handpicked on 10 March. Margaret River cabernet sauvignon was sourced from two vineyards; Yallingup – harvested on 23 March and the Wallcliffe vineyard on 27 March. Harvest was all wrapped up by end of March. Never done that before either!
Cheers, Mrs Kooki