East Coast Tasmania went into the growing season in the grip of drought, after the third year in a row of dry winter. On 8 September, 72mm of rain filled depleted water storages and breathed life into vines as bud burst followed. The coolest vintage since 2006 allied with wind during flowering saw yields down 30–40%. The silver lining came in the form of small berry and bunch sizes, resulting in pinot noir with remarkable intensity of colour and flavour. Chardonnay, riesling and sauvignon blanc are all very good.
Growers in Southern Tasmania went into the season with no rain since the previous year’s dry finish, many irrigating before bud burst. Spring brought no relief: dry, windy conditions impacted on fruit-set and slowed growth for a very late yet low yielding year. The quality of chardonnay for sparkling wines and pinot noir for table wines both look to be outstanding.
Northern Tasmania had good late winter rainfall, but the cool and windy conditions resulted in a lot of hen and chicken in the bunches, and yield was down 30% in a late harvest. Quality will be well above average.
To discover more regional insights from the 2020 Australian vintage – click here.