The Hunter Valley’s 2018 wine vintage – touch wood – is on track to be a cracker.
There is genuine excitement within the winemaking community about the quality of the fruit hanging on the vines.
With picking starting as early as next week for the early ripening whites, fingers are crossed for another five weeks or so of decent weather.
“I took a look at all the vines I work with last Friday and the fruit was beautiful, seriously impressive right across the board,” winemaker Andrew Thomas of Thomas Wines said.
“Some of the chardonnay and verdelho was a little advanced in its development on previous years, and in general terms I’d say we’re seven to 10 days earlier than usual, but nothing major.”
Thomas said the thing they really needed now was to avoid a prolonged wet period.
“We can handle a few 40-degree days no problem, but what we don’t want to see now is prolonged drizzle and damp. I’ve said before I’d take 40-degree temperatures over rain any day.”
When pressed for a quality assessment, Thomas paused for a second.
“I couldn’t have been happier with the fruit I saw the other day, so on that basis I would have to give it a 10 out of 10 … but let me say, we’re not there yet. This is life on the land after all.”
Over at Briar Ridge winemaker Gwyn Olsen was also hopeful.
“It’s a little dry even after the rain the other day, but the fruit looks great and the flavours are really coming through,” she said.
“But January is when the rain comes and you can’t get too excited. Not sure I’d quite give it 10 out of 10, but it’s very good, absolutely.”
I couldn’t have been happier with the fruit I saw the other day, so on that basis I would have to give it a 10 out of 10Andrew Thomas