Wine Industry Newsletter

Vintage update on DPIRD winemaking trials

This season's trials are progressing well at DPIRD. Our vintage started on 29 January. Partnering with a Swan Valley producer who has a small planting of Prosecco, Mencia and Nero d’Avola, our aim is to make small-lot wines from these varieties to demonstrate the performance of these varieties within the region, at a future tasting with Swan Valley producers.

With the 30kg of Prosecco harvested we intend to produce a sparkling wine. The base wine is currently undergoing cold stability and will soon undergo a secondary fermentation in bottle. Mencia was picked at two separate timings to produce a rose and red table wine while the single pick of the Nero d’Avola is being made into a red table wine.

From Witchcliffe in the Margaret River region, 200kg of Chardonnay has been harvested and split into 12 different winemaking treatments. The first treatment, ‘early harvest’ was picked on the 11 February at 10.6 °Be. The intention was to harvest a ‘late harvest’ parcel at 14 °Be and to form a 50:50 blend of these two treatments but due to rain and disease pressure, the late harvest on 8 March came in at only 12.2 °Be. However a blend of these two treatments of different proportions will still be considered.

DPIRD Technical Officer Yu-Yi Liao picking Chardonnay
DPIRD Technical Officer Yu-Yi Liao picking Chardonnay for 2021 winemaking trial.

The other treatments applied to this parcel of fruit harvested on 25 February at 12.0°Be include:

  • Control – will act as a reference wine
  • Light juice solids (~100 NTU)
  • Heavy juice solids (>800 NTU)
  • Skin contact – 3 day cold soak on skins prior to pressing
  • Yeast strain – inoculated with new yeast product Anchor Exotics Mosaic
  • Yeast strain – inoculated with a non-saccharomyces cerevisiae strain (Level 2 Solution™ Biodiva™) and a sequential saccharomyces cerevisiae strain (Lalvin QA23®)
  • Wild ferment
  • High fermentation temperature (~24°C)
  • Low diacetyl MLF – Chr. Hansen CiNe
  • High diacetyl MLF – Chr. Hansen CH35

The purpose of this work is to demonstrate to winemakers the impact of these treatments on wine quality and sensory attributes.

Other trials yet to be harvested include a block of 14 Cabernet Sauvignon clones and selections from a Margaret River vineyard and three Merlot clones from another Margaret River vineyard. A trial in the Great Southern (Frankland River) involving the application of shade cloth on the west side of the fruiting zone on rows of Shiraz is also to be harvested. This trial will compare temperate data within the canopy with and without shade cloth and produce small lot wines to demonstrate the impact of manipulating sun exposure on wine attributes.

These trial wines will be presented at industry wine tasting workshops in the latter half of the year. Look out for future editions of the Wine Industry Newsletter for more details or contact Richard Fennessy directly.