A first look into the Australian wine vintage 2019

By Halliday Wine Companion for Rymill Coonawarra, Seville Estate, and Heritage Estate Wines

24 Apr, 2019

A look at what's been, and a taste of what's to come, from the Australian wine vintage 2019.

As the Australian vintage period reaches its end, we speak with three key winemakers to unveil their experiences during the most anticipated time of the winemaking year. Everything from climate to fruit development is discussed in this exclusive snapshot of the Australian wine vintage 2019. We also reveal insights into the wines produced, along with their unique flavours of aromas that mark the vintage's end. Ahead, discover how Rymill Coonawarra, Seville Estate, and Heritage Estate Wines have spent this year's harvesting period. 

Rymill Coonawarra: exhilarated and energetic

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Shannon Sutherland shares: "We started vintage in late February, with our whites and sparkling base fruit that carried through into an ideal cool-climate March. Shiraz was the first of our reds to be picked in late March, and vintage was expected to continue through the Easter period. Coonawarra has avoided heatwaves, providing perfect conditions for good natural acidity and vibrant flavours. We finished our harvest on Friday 26, after Anzac Day, with our cabernet and petit verdot at our 3 Mile Lane vineyard. While the days during vintage are long, they’re also the days that go the fastest. There are terrific amounts of energy in the vineyard and winery, as the annual pursuit of excellence pays off. The 2019 vintage is our second opportunity to experiment in the vineyard and winery with The Alternates – our new range of wines exploring sustainability, the investigation of innovation, and low-impact techniques in winemaking." | 110 Clayfield Rd, Glenroy, Coonawarra | 08 8736 5001

Seville Estate: a short yet thrilling vintage 


Dylan McMahon shares: "The 2019 vintage was short and compressed, showing fantastic quality across all varieties. The warm and dry season contributed to the short ripening period. We were lucky though; good rainfall during winter and early spring meant our rich red soils were at full water capacity. The vines utilised this water source to establish healthy canopies, allowing adequate shading on the fruit during hot days. We experienced average rainfall at the start of the season, until an eight-week dry spell that started in mid-January. We started picking on February 21; all our chardonnay was off six days later, and we finished picking pinot by March 7. Shiraz and cabernet quickly followed, and we had finished the harvest by March 15. It was controlled chaos, just the right amount where you never feel completely in control. That’s when things become exciting, and you feel the thrill of vintage!" | 65 Linwood Rd, Seville, Yarra Valley | 03 5964 2622

Heritage Estate Wines: depth in flavour


John Handy shares: "Take a leaf out of a viticulturist book, and imagine the driest grape-growing season ever! This year for Heritage meant trucking water everyday from our deep bore on our highest altitude (960 metres above sea level) white grape vineyard, to the old-vine shiraz vineyard – where our 60 year-old vines reached the decomposed granite of the Granite Belt region. However, our younger merlot, shiraz, grenache, mourvèdre and tempranillo were struggling. 2019 was the earliest vintage ever, which saw our wine maker’s shopping trolley full of low yield, bright tiny berries, that allowed John Handy to produce wines of deep colour and concentrated flavours. The high altitude fiano, albarino, marsanne, and chardonnay matured well, with the reds much earlier, giving a compressed and busy vintage. Bottling could not commence until the ferments had bubbled and hissed their last breath."

 | 747 Granite Belt Dr, Cottonvale, Granite Belt | 07 4685 2197

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Find everything you need to know about the Australian wine vintage 2019 in our essential guide.

This article was produced by Halliday Wine Companion in partnership with Rymill CoonawarraSeville Estate and Heritage Estate Wines.