All Smiles as Valley Reaps Rewards of a Promising Vintage

A kind summer with perfect ripening conditions has Clare Valley winemakers brimming with confidence about the 2021 vintage.

It is tipped to be an exceptional one with high natural acidity and full flavour development.

We’ll have to wait a few months to see what the critics say but the winemakers certainly have smiles on their faces. Early indications are the vintage has tremendous promise.

Tractors, harvesters and trucks carting wine grapes have been a common sight in the Clare Valley over the past two months as the annual crop of grapes was taken off the vine. 

While the season started with good spring rains, very dry subsoils have resulted in yields that are still slightly down on average.

The Clare Valley Wine & Grape Association reports yields are up on the past two years but would probably fall short of the 10-year average.

Some growers are a little disappointed with the riesling yields which were lower than expected but this has been compensated by red yields which were more solid than the previous couple of years.

We are certainly dealing with a changing climate and continually adapting to get the best out of each season. Growers are learning all the time, trialling new tools and viticultural techniques and technologies to improve their vineyard management.

Some are also investigating what new varieties might be suited to the Clare Valley in the future. We are starting to see a clutch of Mediterranean varieties emerging with great potential.

It’s also been a unique vintage for many wineries and vineyards with no international cellar hands, winemakers or backpackers to pick grapes. Businesses have certainly had to be creative to find solutions.

There is a growing interest in the Clare Valley wine region at the moment, from both tourists and consumers. So, we can’t wait for the release of the first 2021 wines.

If the flavours on the vine are anything to go by, we are certainly in for a treat.


Written by Anna Baum as part of The Valley Magazine and republished with permission from the Plains Producer.

The full magazine is available to read online here or pick up a copy from the Clare Valley Wine, Food and Tourism Centre and various other locations around the Valley.