Saperavi wine grapes in Western Australia

Page last updated: Monday, 19 November 2018 - 8:59am

Saperavi wines have outstanding colour and performed well with both judges and consumers in evaluations in Western Australia. Saperavi originates from the Kakhetti region in central-eastern Georgia.

The variety is notable for is its high anthocyanin content, which gives rise to the name Saperavi meaning ‘pigment’ or ‘stain’ in Georgian. Wines have great depth of colour, high acid, plum, berry and floral notes. They are well structured with impressive ageing capacity.

Saperavi is an important wine variety in Georgia, where it reportedly accounts for 80% of all red wine production. Saperavi (clone I11V10) was identified by the wine industry as having potential for the development of premium WA wine. Vines were therefore planted in Manjimup in 2003 and evaluated for fruit and wine production from 2007 to 2010.

Saperavi at Manjimup

Saperavi vines displayed poor and slow establishment in trials, producing small canopies with low yields. However, the variety produces very loose bunches of fruit that are low in disease with a deep, inky red fruit colour. Approaching harvest maturity, Saperavi fruit shrivels to a high degree. Berry shrivel can be high in later ripening years, resulting in reduced yield.

Timing of key phenology stages at Manjimup

Budburst (E-L 4)

Full bloom (E-L 23)

Veraison (E-L 35)

Harvest (E-L 38)

Early September

Early December

Mid-February

Mid-late April

Saperavi fruit has ripe, rich and concentrated berry and plum flavours. Wines are deep and inky in colour; the aroma is lifted with floral violet tones, cherry and citrus. Wines are medium-bodied, have supple tannins with blackberry and cherry flavours.

Saperavi production characteristics in Manjimup

Productivity

Medium

Berry weight

Medium

Bunch weight

Medium

Fruit yield/vine

7.4kg

Disease susceptibility

Low

Equivalent yield

12.3t/ha

Bunch compaction

Low

Vigour

Medium

Juice TSS (°Brix)

26.6

Juice Baumé

14.8

Juice pH

3.3

Juice TA g/L

8.1

Wine sensory assessment

Results from a consumer survey showed that 85% of respondents liked the aroma, 96% liked the flavour, 96% liked the body, 91% liked the style and 96% found the variety to have commercial potential.

Wine judging results

Wine judging results for Saperavi out of 20 points

2009 Winemakers Panel

2010 Timber Towns Wine Show

2010 Qantas Wine Show

2011 Timber Towns Wine Show

17.0

15.9

15.9

16.3

Saperavi produced in 2012 was also awarded a silver medal at the Geographe Wine Show in 2014.

Contact information

Richard Fennessy
+61 (0)8 9780 6219

Authors

Richard Fennessy
Kristen Brodison