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Moss Wood and 2016 WA vintage - looking good again.

It’s been hot in WA recently, but as far as the vintage in Margaret River is concerned, the daytime temperature is not so important. It’s night-time temperatures that count, because that’s when the grapes are picked.  

Grapes harvested in the cool of the night – say at 14C – after a day of 20C+ temperatures, arrive at the winery unbroken and uncompromised.

Winemakers and viticulturists are walking around their vineyards right now, stopping, tasting, testing, and making the call on whether or when to pick.

At Moss Wood, in the key, northern Wilyabrup sub-region, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir came off the vines early (second week of February), roughly two weeks earlier than usual.  Quantity was down a little, but not alarmingly, Sauvignon Blanc by 10%, Pinot by 20%.

Winemaker and proprietor Keith Mugford, says the season has been generally good.

Rain has meant it’s been a bit up-and-down for temperatures’, he says. ‘We had slightly warmer than average conditions in October and November, and then it was cooler again through December. 

‘Around New Year it warmed up and then in the second week of January the rain came and so it cooled off again.  Since then we’ve had fairly typical summer days – mild to warm and giving us consistent grape ripening’.

Mugford says flavours in both Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are ‘really exciting’— although fermentations are still in progress – and he believes this is a good sign for other varieties’.

The Semillon harvest began on February 17, Chardonnay soon thereafter and:

'Merlot and Cabernet Franc are about two weeks away, Cabernet Sauvignon three to four weeks and Petit Verdot about five weeks. 

‘I know it’s a long way out, but if we have some more nice autumnal days, we are looking at good quality in them all’.   

If you want a comparison with previous years, Mugford says the vintage is likely to be close to 2013 in style. That was another harvest with warm-to-hot days and cool nights.

It looks as though Margaret River’s succession of very good to excellent vintages is set to remain unbroken in 2016.

Meanwhile, if you're on the hunt for some of this country's finest Cabernet, why not have a look at our Classification VI Auction closing Thursday 03 Mar 2016 9PM AET.

At the time of writing, Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon - arguably the finest MW Cabernet released - could still be snapped up for a storm!!


Adrian Read


ABN: 77 159 767 843. New South Wales: Liquor Act 2007. No Alcohol can be sold or supplied to anyone under 18. It's against the law. License Number: LIQP770010303 Victoria: WARNING - Under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, it is an offence: To supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 years [Penalty exceeds $19,000]; For a person under the age of 18 years to purchase or receive liquor [Penalty exceeds $800]. License Number: 32055289