Southern Hemisphere: Harvest 2019 Overview
By Jessica Broadbent
The Southern Hemisphere’s 2019 vintage will be characterised by freshness and vibrance.
Challenging, cooler than average temperatures have affected most countries, alongside abundant rainfall that balanced out typical warm climates. In South Africa, however, there has been a break from the droughts that affected the past few vintages, while producers in New Zealand say 2019 is one of their best vintages in memory.
Check out the overview map, and read more below!
Southern Hemisphere Harvest 2019 Overview
“Pressure makes diamonds” says Xanadu chief winemaker Glenn Goodall reflecting on the 2019 harvest. From drought in the Clare and Eden Valleys to ravenous birds in Margaret River, our Australian producers have certainly faced their fair share of pressure this year, but early indications suggest that we’ll be expecting some real diamonds from these 2019s.
Walker & Wodehouse buyer for Australia, Jamie Avenell says: “As always, the year brought its challenges for our vignerons across this vast country. However, when yields are compromised you often see quality boom, and I am happy to hear our producers reporting fantastic flavour, acidity and elegance. I am particularly excited to taste the 2019 sparkling base wines from Tasmania’s Josef Chromy – dubbed the best in years. We also have a new winemaker in the gang, Adam Louder of Mount Langi Ghiran, and I eagerly anticipate this vintage’s Shiraz.”
Brazil and Uruguay
Freshness and vibrance could be the hallmarks of the latest vintage from this increasingly quality-focused region of South America.
Despite a mixed bag of growing conditions for our Brazilian and Uruguayan producers, they remain optimistic that 2019 will be another successful vintage. From abundant rainy days to disease in the vines, these countries certainly saw their fair share of challenges during 2019. But favourable conditions at the end of the vintage meant they were able to maintain the fantastic quality we’ve come to expect from their wines in recent years. There’s some indication too that the cold and wet conditions at the start of the vintage will result in high levels of freshness and acidity in these 2019 wines.
Walker & Wodehouse buyer for Brazil and Uruguay, Joseph Arthur, says, “Compared to 2018’s stellar vintage in Brazil and Uruguay, 2019 saw much more fluctuation of temperature and rainfall levels. January’s wet conditions meant that considerable volume was lost in both countries, with Brazil in particular losing 60m kilograms overall. Despite this, with conditions balancing out in the later half of the vintage, we’re hopeful that the 2019 wines will have extra levels of complexity, freshness and flavour.”
It’s been a fantastic harvest for our producers in Chile, especially for red varieties. After a particularly tough year back in 2017 the past two vintages have been relatively easy-going, and the wine is as promising as ever.
Derek Mossman Knapp of Garage Wine Co. is dubbing 2019 a cut above the rest for their “intrepid array of parcels”, after a few years’ focus on building the teams that work the vineyards for them in Maule and Maipo. Brett Jackson, winemaker at Valdivieso tells us of outstanding quality in the Maipo, Casablanca and Leyda regions.
Joseph Arthur, wine buyer for Chile, says, “I’m excited to see our producers are reporting excellent quality from the 2019 harvest and a less eventful growing season than we’ve seen in recent years. With no major weather disruptions it sounds like the grapes have ripened well, and yields are average for the most part. Chile produces some excellent examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc and it seems this year is no different, but we also have the likes of Garage Wine Co.’s top-notch Pais to watch out for. With regions such as Leyda producing wonderfully complex, full-flavoured and powerful wines from 2019 – this is the vintage to explore Chile’s regionality.”
2019 has been quite possibly the best vintage ever for New Zealand winemakers. Each of our producers has reported practically perfect growing seasons, with low disease pressure, lovely weather and an absence of major weather incidents. It seems we have some exciting wines on the way!
“It isn’t often you receive glowing reports from every major wine-producing area in a country for one vintage,” says Jamie Avenell. “New Zealand has been climatically fortunate this year and it seems our amazing producers are making the most of it. Fantastic concentration, balanced acidity and impressive opulence will be the hallmarks of the 2019 vintage.”
Against the odds, the wines of 2019 are looking to be of exceptional quality, following four years of serious drought.
While healthy rains over the past year have certainly helped, the vines have not yet forgotten their previous stress. But luckily for most of our producers, a decrease in quantity has not affected quality and the resulting wines look set to be balanced and harmonious, with smaller grapes and reduced yields leading to concentrated flavours and a pleasing freshness.
Our South Africa wine buyer Robert Mathias comments: “It’s been a trying vintage for our producers, and the droughts have certainly taken their toll. That being said, it’s a truly exciting year for quality – the acid and sugar levels have been excellent, and this bodes well for wines of sheer elegance. Time for the winemakers to enjoy a large glass of well-deserved wine!”