Harvest or ‘vintage’ refers to the process of harvesting grapes from their vines once they’re perfectly ripe. Vintage in McLaren Vale occurs every year and can begin as early as the start of February in early ripening varieties such as Chardonnay and is usually completed by the end of April.
Producers in McLaren Vale will consider grape ripeness, sugar, acid, and tannin levels and measure these levels to determine when certain varieties are ready to pick.
Adequate temperatures reliably ripen all varieties in almost all areas of our region. Rainfall and heat are the two major climatic factors which can impact upon harvest conditions.
Overall, McLaren Vale enjoys warm dry summers, moderate winters, with winter-dominated rainfall, low relative humidity and relatively high evaporation. Optimal temperatures leading up to, and during, vintage are pivotal to how the year’s harvest transpires. Excessive heat, rain, hail and frost can harm the grapes, can impact on the region’s grape harvest.
Typically, the southernmost point of our region will ripen first with harvest dates occurring later travelling in a north-easterly direction from Aldinga through to Blewitt Springs.