Gamay wine grapes in Western Australia

Page last updated: Tuesday, 7 November 2017 - 1:16pm

The Gamay wine grape variety is well known from the Beaujolais region in France.

Gamay (Clone 284) was imported into Western Australia and evaluated for fruit and wine production in trials at Manjimup from 2007 to 2010. The vines showed poor establishment there, producing tight-bunched crops susceptible to botrytis. Furthermore, wines scored low at wine shows and were poorly received by consumers.

Gamay is thought to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of France where it was outcast in the 14th century due to producing inferior wines. Gamay subsequently established in the Beaujolais region and plantings can also be found in the Loire Valley.

Gamay wines are typical of the Beaujolais style being light purple in colour, high acid, low tannin, light-bodied, fragrant with freshly picked red berry, peach and banana characters.

Key phenology stages and timing for Gamay at Manjimup

Budburst

(E-L 4)

Full bloom

(E-L 23)

Veraison

(E-L 35)

Harvest

(E-L 38)

Mid-September

Mid-December

Mid-February

Early April

When planted in 2003, Gamay vines showed poor establishment at Manjimup. Rootlings were weak and many failed to establish and required replanting. The first year of fruit production for winemaking occurred in 2009.

Gamay vines produced numerous small bunches per shoot requiring fruit thinning in crowded areas. Bunches are highly compact containing very small berries and susceptible to botrytis. Fruit displays ripe berry and spicy characters, producing light-bodied savoury wines with firm acid and herbal, strawberry and briar flavours.

Production characteristics for Gamay

Productivity

Medium-high

Berry weight

Medium

Bunch weight

High

Fruit yield/vine (kg)

7.7

Disease susceptibility

Medium

Equivalent yield/ha

12.8

Bunch compaction

High

Vigour

Medium

Juice TSS (°Brix)

22.7

Juice Baumé

12.6

Juice pH

3.1

Juice TA g/L

8.9

Wine sensory assessment

Results from a consumer survey showed that 53 per cent of respondents liked the aroma, 47 per cent liked the flavour, 47 per cent liked the body, 35 per cent liked the style and 37 per cent believed the variety has commercial potential.

Wine judging results from Gamay in 2009 and 2010

2009 Winemakers Panel

2010 Timber Towns Wine Show

2010 Australian Alternative Variety Wine Show

2010 Qantas Wine Show

14.5

15.1

13.7

14.6

Contact information

Richard Fennessy
+61 (0)8 9780 6219

Author

Kristen Brodison