A dry and mild season has provided ideal growing conditions for vintage 2023. There have been no major heat waves, which is evident in the quality of the grapevines as the fruit continues to ripen and bask in this pleasant west coast weather.
The crop levels are moderate and fruit quality is looking superb, especially with the lower temperatures aiding in acid retention.
Harvesting commenced with the Verdelho in the early morning hours of January 27th, followed shortly after by the Semillon and a small parcel of Chenin Blanc that will be used for the sparkling base wine.
Over the 20+ years that Damian has undertaken a vintage in the Swan Valley and Perth Hills districts, he said this year is one of the best on record.
“This is undoubtedly one of the top five vintages I’ve seen in the past two decades in Perth. There have been no disease or bird issues, and most importantly, no major weather events. Typically, there is a storm or heatwave, but not this year,” he adds with a smile of relief.
“The fruit is looking and tasting beautifully, and we couldn’t have asked for better growing conditions this vintage.”
“Each year, we are seeing improvements in fruit quality due to the work we are doing in the vineyard with Matt Trent at the helm.”
The remainder of the Chenin Blanc is being harvested this week, with around 300-tonnes expected to fill the presses.
It is Senior Winemaker, Marcello Fabretti’s fourth vintage at Nikola Estate, where he has been concentrating on the alternative varietals such as Montepulciano and Nero d’Avola.
“The fruit is pristine and has retained good natural acidity, which can be attributed to warm days and nights, yet no humidity or extreme heat,” he reveals. “We will be picking the Mediterranean varieties in a couple of weeks, as they ripen later than the usual suspects.”
“The fruit set on the Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Mencia is quite impressive. The lack of sunburn and fruit shrivel has resulted in high yields, especially with the chenin, of which we have around 40-hectares under vine.”
Harvesting has commenced this week in the Geographe region for some of the wines in the Regional collection.