Vintage Report 2024 | Harris Organic Wine and Spirits

A Snapshot of Challenges and Opportunities at Perth’s Organic Winery.

The 2024 vintage season in Baskerville, WA, has left its mark on the region’s winemakers, presenting challenges and opportunities in equal measure. As we delve into the intricacies of this year’s harvest, one thing becomes abundantly clear: adaptability and foresight were key to navigating the unique circumstances presented by Mother Nature.

Below Average Rainfall and Unprecedented Heat

The stage was set early on with below-average rainfall during winter and the growing season, setting the tone for what was to come. The scant 5mm of rainfall in November and a dry December posed significant challenges for grape growers.

This was reminiscent of previous vintages with similar dry conditions. While Perth experienced its lowest recorded rainfall in 2006, Baskerville saw its record low in 2023, just 448mm.

Adding to the complexity of the season, December and January brought scorching temperatures, accelerating the ripening process and hastening the onset of harvest.

The unrelenting heat presented a double-edged sword, pushing grapes to maturity at an unprecedented pace while later inducing vine stress and berry shrivel, catching some growers off guard.

Picking organic grapes by hand.
Hand harvesting grapes at Harris Organic Wines

Early Harvest and Swift Action

For those astute enough to anticipate the rapid pace of development, swift action was imperative. With vintage arriving 3-4 weeks earlier than the previous year, growers had to respond quickly.

White grape varieties were harvested in late December and early January, ensuring optimal flavour development and acidity retention.

Red grape varieties, notably Shiraz, followed suit in early to mid-January, showcasing deep colour and promising characteristics. Despite the challenges posed by the weather, the dry-grown fruit was clean and flavoursome.

The accelerated timeline forced growers to be on their toes, with little room for complacency.

At Harris Organic Vineyard, we picked our normal amount of grapes, totalling 8 tonnes. The first pick was on the 9th of January, marking the beginning of an intense yet rewarding period of activity.

Our last pick, on the 8th of February, brought the season to a close. This culminated in a harvest marked by dedication and diligence by all concerned.

Opportunities in Adversity

Amidst the challenges, there were silver linings to be found. Grapes picked in February, although later than usual, proved ideal for fortified wines, leveraging the unique climatic conditions to produce exceptional quality. The hot December and January days, while testing the mettle of even the most seasoned growers, provided a canvas for crafting wines of distinct character and intensity.

Looking Ahead

As we reflect on the trials of the 2024 vintage, one thing remains certain: the ever-changing nature of climate demands adaptability. While each season presents its own set of obstacles, it is through innovation and ingenuity that we continue to push the boundaries of possibility.

In the years to come, the lessons learned from this vintage will serve as a guide for future endeavours, reminding us of the inherent beauty and unpredictability of grape growing and winemaking.

Raise a glass to toast the fruits of our labour. Let us also raise our gaze to the horizon, where new challenges and opportunities await.

Vintage Report 2024: Navigating the Winds of Change, One Grape at a Time.

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