V20 – Great Southern Wine Region, Western Australia

An observant man once quipped “Times they are a-changing”.

When pondering the Great Southern vintage of 2020, the most notable element was the weather, or more precisely how different the weather was when compared against the norm.

Gone were the cool crisp summer evenings of our southern maritime climate, replaced by balmy BBQ friendly nights. This, in turn, advanced vine development, forwarding the commencement of vintage and therefore catching Winemakers with their pants down… not a sight to behold.

The days were also hot, with afternoon sea breezes providing little relief. Vine canopies were thus restrained, berry expansion reduced as a result and in turn, increased the skin to pulp ratio of the fruit. This produced reds of intense colour and depth of flavour.

The summer was bone dry and the humidity low. Combined with the dappled canopies of the vineyards the fruit was clean and uncompromised, left to develop the complexity you would expect from the Great Southern. It was year akin to other warmer Australian regions. Wines will be a little bigger and a little bolder. Suited more to Shiraz and Chardonnay instead of perhaps the Riesling and Pinot Noir varieties.

This weather was certainly dynamic, influencing the most dynamic of all of Australia’s wine regions. The irony is not lost on me…. Is there any other regions in Australia that can produce world-class Shiraz and Chardonnays one year and then Pinot Noirs and Rieslings the next… I think not.

Punters, enjoy this unique vintage…winemakers keep your pants up.



Plantagenet Chief Viticulturist