Vintage 2020 goes for the record as the earliest in the recent history.
Arguably, 2020 is the earliest vintage on record with pretty much all the white varieties completed before the end of February which is unheard of. A small Sauvignon Blanc parcel from Pemberton and the home block Chardonnay which is usually last white in the district to be picked in early March.
It was warm and dry conditions throughout 2019 that speed up the vineyard cycle across the Great Southern. The native trees blossomed earlier too giving birds plenty of food and keeping them away from the vineyard minimising damage to the fruit. Very little disease pressure due to a very dry season, and the particularly hot days guaranteed steady berries ripening.
Although 2020 is a very high-quality vintage, virtually every pick, throughout the entire region has been approximately 50 per cent down, with some varieties yield being down by 70 per cent. It really has caught all viticulturalists by surprise as by appearance the crops look generally on par with most other seasons. The real difference is in bunch and berry size – they are considerably small. On the upside of that – tiny berries equal lots of intensity and flavour.
In sum, the 2020 fruit will make outstanding wines, but very little of them, making this vintage a very rare one.