15/03/2005 - 21:00

Wine News – vintage in the Great Southern

15/03/2005 - 21:00

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“It’s flat out mate” was the response Picardy winemaker Dan Pannell gave Gusto when asked how vintage 2005 was going.

Wine News – vintage in the Great Southern

“It’s flat out mate” was the response Picardy winemaker Dan Pannell gave Gusto when asked how vintage 2005 was going.

The traditional-style winery hand-picks all its fruit, and Picardy’s four-person team is currently dividing 12-hour days picking up to 10 tonnes of grapes and crushing in a vintage that’s destined to be kind to Pemberton.

Mr Pannell says he’s “very happy” with the pinot while the chardonnay is “already showing some exceptional flavours on it”.

“We’re still a couple of weeks away for the late reds – the cabernet, franc and merlot, and the shiraz is looking stunning,” he says.

Mr Pannell says the lead up to the 2005 season has been “long, dry but not overly warm” and says the season looks very similar to the outstanding 2001 vintage.

“That was before we got an inch of rain yesterday but there was a big rush to get the pinot and chardonnay in before that.

“We had expected it so we were ok.”

Despite scattered drizzle and heavy fronts weather is far from Mr Pannell’s chief concern this vintage. The supply of grape pickers, the seasonal workers upon whom the lucrative wine industry relies, has all but dried up.

 “You don’t get a second chance to pick grapes. We’re ok but I feel sorry for the guys in Griffith, off the tourist radar, who don’t have anyone. I spoke to one orange farmer who had to pick his whole orchid because there were no workers,” Mr Pannell says.

Like other Great Southern producers, the Pannells have witnessed lower rainfalls in recent years, which has translated to smaller berries and more intense, richer flavours.

Picardy is not irrigated and so smaller grapes are expected but Mr Pannell also notes that crop thinning has pared back of the excessive 2004 vintage.

But, all in all, fans of Picardy’s pinot are sure to be happy, Mr Pannell says.

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