South Australia


Yet again, South Australia basked in the sun in 2019, drying out the undergrowth prior to worse bushfires than ever. Combined with spring frosts, yields were drastically reduced as a result. What remains is of pretty good quality, but far from the best. See also this more detailed South Australia vintage report.


Very promising quality with the most bullish commentators declaring 2018 great in every region and for every variety. The more circumspect view is that early frosts reduced yields, but good, consistent weather throughout the second half of the growing season did indeed result in great potential.


The grape harvest started later than in 2016, thanks to a relatively cool and wet start to the year, which brought disease pressure. There were none of the drought problems of recent years, and the crop was plentiful across all of Australia. Dry weather for most the harvest period ensured that quality was generally high too.


Another very early vintage, with most varieties and regions finished with harvest by mid-February. That has allowed for lower alcohols in regions such as Coonawarra, but the warm summer allowed for full flavour ripeness. It was a compressed and difficult vintage to produce, but the results should be promising. For a more detailed report, read Max Allen’s article.


Bush fires in the Adelaide Hills area may result in some smoke-tainted wines. Coonawarra had a warm spring but a cooler summer allowing for slow development and notably high tannin in the Cabernet Sauvignon. Barossa Shiraz enjoyed an excellent vintage while Clare Valley growers are enthusiastic about the quality of their Riesling.


Extreme weather conditions are increasingly normal for Australia, and 2014 saw everything from frost to high winds to heatwaves. Yields were lower than usual and while nobody is claiming it is a great vintage, quality is generally reliable across varieties.


The hottest summer ever for South Eastern Australia and yields were well down but the vine proved itself relatively resistant to the record temperatures with many varieties ripening in an unusually short period.


Lower-than-average yields in Australia, as across much of Europe. This was blamed on high winds, drought and low fruitfulness resulting from the poor 2011 vintage. Quality, however, was much better than in the exceptionally damp 2011, with South Australia avoiding some of the weather extremes experienced by other states. Strong varietal typicality is a commonly cited feature of the 2012 crop.


Wet across most of Australia, and 'one of the toughest in 25 years' according to Peter Gago of Penfolds, with lots of botrytis and mildew infections. Whites are generally thought better, with some excellent Clare Valley Riesling where fruit selection was stringent.


This was the year that the rain finally came, breaking a long drought. This brought some problems later in the season, with excess rainfall encouraging some mildew, but generally the impression is a positive one across the state.


A smaller vintage with another blistering heatwave to contend with. Opposite to 2008, the whites suffered most in 2009. 


An extremely hot year wreaked havoc with reds, but the earlier picked whites look to be good quality, and the Barossa’s oldest vines weathered the heat as they always have done. 


Very early, very small harvest, shrunk by the killer combination of frost and drought. Reds tend to be concentrated. Clare Rieslings are likely to shine. For a full, very highly detailed, report on 2007, click here.


Rain, very welcome in some respects, interrupted harvest at the end of the fourth successive drought-affected growing season. Limestone Coast Cabernets look promising.


Large crop of super-ripe wines in which both reds and whites were very successful.


Record crop even though the total volume was trimmed by extreme heat just before harvest. Increasingly highly regarded reds.


Eerily similar to many European 2003s, these are potent, fast-maturing reds shaped by a drought season with, often, a hole in the middle and very dry tannins on the finish.


Poor weather at flowering reduced yields considerably and was followed by an unusually cool summer and a late harvest leading to some high-quality wines. Inland irrigated regions benefited most obviously from this prolonged growing season.


A vintage that rewarded the quality-conscious. A usefully wet start to the growing season was followed by prolonged very hot, dry weather, broken by rain just before harvest in March. Some grapes suffered sunburn but lower-yielding vineyards produced true quality.


Very challenging vintage conditions which included poor flowering, hail, exceptional heat in summer and rain during harvest. There were problems with colour stability. Small crop.


The record crop was more the result of increased plantings than any natural phenomenon. Several years of drought conditions continued until summer, which was plagued by some storms which compromised vintage health. A cooler year than 1998.


Was then a record crop from an early, frantic vintages despite drought conditions. Some fine reds.


Vintage saved by a hot April with some fine Shiraz made, eventually, which should have a long life.


A big vintage at last, with sugars boosted by a late burst of heat.


Inconveniently small crop but some good Shiraz and Rieslings, especially in Clare, where quantities were better than elsewhere


Exceptionally dry but not too hot: the resulting wines are deep and structured, especially from the Barossa Valley.


Ripening was slowed by an unusually cool and wet spell. A challenging year with the whites especially more variable than usual.


Cool temperatures at harvest ensured balanced wines, exceptional from Clare Valley.


Dry weather restricted yields, but the quality was generally fine for all varieties.


Ideal weather: enough water and moderate temperatures. An excellent year in all regions.