Winemakers and grape growers in NSW’s Orange region have high hopes for the 2024 vintage after a quintessential cool climate growing season delivered vintage reactions like ‘world class’ and ‘a classic vintage’.

The 2024 Orange Vintage Report highlights how this year’s growing conditions have helped the grapes, as vineyards from the lower elevations from 600m up to the higher elevations at 100om saw all varieties ripen ‘beautifully, producing flawless fruit’.

While ripening well, it was an early vintage which began in late January, with most vineyards completing harvest before the Easter long weekend.

The dryer winter leading into spring of 2023 saw a strong start to vintage with consistent bud burst across all varieties. The rainfall was below average for most of spring, except for November which set up a perfect season, with ideal soil moisture profiles.

The higher-than-average temperatures during spring gave the vines textbook growth and fruit set. The spring maximum temperatures remained under 30 degrees, with long sunshine hours, reflective of the best vintages of Orange. The region experienced no disease, flawless phenological ripeness with lower sugar levels and exceptional acid retention.

“November was quite wet so there was no shortage of water to limit the vines growth,” said Colmar Estate owner and vigneron Bill Shrapnel. “Summer was warm but not particularly hot, just the way vines like it. Our vineyard, which sits at an elevation of 980 metres, is set up so we can irrigate if the vines start to suffer in hot conditions, but there was no need this year.”

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling have excelled. Shrapnel added: “We conducted three picks of our Chardonnay, trying to capture both the citrusy notes (early pick) and white peach characters (later pick) that Chardonnay has to offer. That said, our Riesling was right on the money, with full ripeness in both the Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer. Exciting prospects all round.”

Byrne Farm winemaker and owner Jeff Byrne experienced a similar vintage and said: “Vintage 2024 in Orange will be remembered as a ‘classic vintage’.

“For the first time since 2020 we enjoyed multiple days over 30 degrees during January and February, which lead to one of the earliest harvests on record and a short and sharp vintage in our winery. These ideal conditions helped return the vines back to an average crop load for 2024. The wines are showing loads of flavour with ideal ripeness across the varieties, while still holding a lovely line of acidity – very exciting. I look forward to trying and collecting the region’s 2024 wines.”

ORVA President and Nashdale Lane Wines vigneron Nick Segger added: “With an excellent yield across the region, the early assessment is that there are standout wines across the spectrum; from the whites such as Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay through to the broad range of reds including Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Cabernet. It will be a vintage to remember for all the right reasons. There will be some world class wines from Orange this vintage.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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