An Unprecedented Vintage | Great Southern Wine Region Association

The 2024 Great Southern vintage was one of the earliest on record, with most wine grape varieties harvested by the end of March.

Warmer-than-usual temperatures in late September and October brought about the vintage four weeks earlier than usual. These temperatures accelerated budburst, early-season growth, and flowering, condensing the growing season. Warm and dry daytime conditions during February and March ensured rapid sugar and flavour accumulation in the lead-up to the early harvest.

We faced some early-season viticultural challenges, including isolated frost occurrences in the Frankland and Mount Barker subregions in late October that resulted in some crop loss. Some late-season challenges, including heat spikes above 40 degrees C in late January and early February, caused sun damage in some blocks of Riesling and Chardonnay, making shrewd irrigation strategy and canopy management key to maximising quality.

Yield outcomes were patchy, with reports of Riesling and Chardonnay yields below expectations by 20-30%. However, other varieties, such as Shiraz, performed at or slightly above yield expectations.

Despite the seasonal viticultural challenges and a smaller-than-average vintage, the early feedback from all resilient winemakers in the Great Southern region is that quality is excellent, with very clean fruit. This resilience and adaptability are testaments to the strength of our industry.

The primary red varieties, most notably Shiraz and Cabernet, are set to perform exceptionally well due to the high potential afforded by the warmer season for sugar and phenolic ripening as well as flavour intensity. The small berries noted in the Cabernet Sauvignon this year will result in high concentration due to increased skin-to-pulp ratio and colour extraction, leading quality indicators. These positive outcomes bode well for the future of our wines.

Although Riesling had some yield impacts, the natural acidity at harvest was balanced, and the wine quality is likely to surprise on the upside. Reports on Chardonnay are also robust, with favourable conditions noted in the Porongorup, Denmark, and Mount Barker subregions.

As always, the size and diversity of the Great Southern and its five subregions (Albany, Denmark, Mount Barker, Porongorup, and Frankland) will lead to a wide variety of vintage quality and quantity outcomes. This diversity, coupled with the unique vineyard site specifics, varietal mix, and viticultural practices employed, makes our region unique and full of potential.














Find out more by visiting the Great Southern Wine Region Association website here