Australian Wine Vintage 2020 Has Begun

Hearts are racing across the country as the Australian wine vintage officially commences for 2020. In what's the most crucial time of year for winemakers, Halliday Wine Companion shares some of the moments from the ground.

The 2020 Australian wine vintage has officially kicked off! We've been following this vintage closely and know it has been a tough one for many, so we're committed to sharing the positive stories, from budburst to bottle.

We highlight some key moments on the ground: 

Budburst begins

As the weather warms up, budburst begins around Australia. This image from Audrey Wilkinson in the Hunter Valley captures signs of life on the muscat vines and the start of #v20halliday. 

Avoiding frost

As the weather warms up, tiny grapes will appear on the vines, as seen below at Mount Terrible. Frost is the enemy of the vines at this point, with many taking measures into their own hands and using frost fans to stave off the early morning chill as shown as Jones Winery


Grapevines around the country begin their next stage of growth: flowering! The flowering period can be as short as a day or two in warm conditions, and as long as a month in cool conditions. Once individual flowers become visible, the pollination and fertilisation of the grapevine take place, resulting in a grape berry. The pollination process is shown below at Whistler Wines in the Barossa Valley.

Vintage is underway

Warmer regions such as the Swan Valley are already harvesting some of their white varieties, such as Garbin Estate here with their chenin blanc.


Veraison is the process through which grapes darken in colour and riped in the lead up to being picked. While this stage is most applicable to red wine grapes, the process also occurs for some grapes you might not expect, such as pinot gris, as shown in this image from Cumulus Vineyards

Sun smart grapes

The harsh Australian sun can damage both human skin... and grape skin! This vintage, winemakers are spraying their ripening grapes with sunscreen to protect them from the damaging rays. The clay-based sunscreen leaves no residue on the fruit and doesn't affect the taste, unlike blistered grapes that can leave the resulting wine with a burnt sugar character. Scarborough Wine Co show us their sun smart semillon below.

Netting the vines

Netting is used throughout many vineyards during vintage to protect the rapidly ripening grapes from birds. Covering the grapes in netting is often a time-consuming, labour-intensive task to ensure that all vines are covered and laid gently so as not to damage the fruit. The netting, shown here in use by Brown Hill Estate in Margaret River will stay in place until the winery is ready to harvest.

Grape sampling

One of the biggest decision for a winemaker during vintage is choosing when to harvest the grapes. The chemistry of freshly picked grapes can determine the potential quality of a wine, and for that reason many wineries will sample the grapes in the weeks prior to harvest, tasting and testing to make sure the resulting wine will be of a high standard. Here, Whicher Ridge shows us how it's done.

Follow along with the hashtag #v20halliday to keep up to date with the latest throughout the vintage period. If you're a winery in vintage, be sure to tag us in your posts.