Wine Industry Newsletter

Harvest completed for research projects

The DPIRD wine research team consisting of Richard Fennessy and Yu-Yi Liao have completed another successful vintage period of harvesting numerous trial sites, collecting data and making small-lot wines.

The first pick was made on 16 February and the last on 17 April 2023. During this two month period the team travelled 8600km collecting maturity samples and picking various vineyard sites.

This season saw a continuation of the projects undertaken in the previous season being: Understanding the intricacies of provenance in Western Australian wine regions and Demonstrating how clonal selection can influence Cabernet Sauvignon wine quality.

The provenance project is the second consecutive vintage where the DPIRD team have harvested Chardonnay and Cabernet sites within the Margaret River region and Riesling and Shiraz from the Great Southern. Within these two wine regions 58 separate vineyard sites were harvested. Using a standardised small-lot winemaking procedure these wines will undergo sensory and chemical analysis to determine if linkages between elements of site can be attributed to wine attributes.

Yu-Yi Liao picking Chardonnay in Margaret River.
DPIRD technical officer Yu-Yi Liao picking Chardonnay in Margaret River.

For the third consecutive year a trial block of 14 different clones and selections of Cabernet Sauvignon were harvested from this Margaret River site. The parcels were harvested over three dates: 6, 11 and 14 April 2023. The last picking day was a forced decision as the site received 20mm of rainfall that day and the forecast indicated further significant rain in the coming days.

Richard Fennessy and Yu-Yi Liao harvesting Cabernet Sauvignon clones and selections at trial site in Margaret River.
Richard Fennessy and Yu-Yi Liao harvesting Cabernet Sauvignon clones and selections at trial site in Margaret River.

With hindsight some of the parcels could have stayed on the vine to further ripen to the desired sugar specification but the information available at the time suggested the contrary. Just under 500kg of fruit was picked across the 14 clones and selections.

In total, the team picked 72 separate parcels across the two wine regions which comprised 1400kg of fruit and approximately 150 separate ferments. The wines are currently undergoing cold stabilisation and will be bottled in August 2023.


Funding for the Provenance project is received via the Wine Export Growth Partnership of which Wines of WA is a partner. The Cabernet clone activity is funded via the Wine Australia Regional Program (administered by Wines of WA).