The long southern Australian drought of the early and mid 2000s broke and the Barossa experienced its best rainfall in five years during winter and spring of 2009, providing good soil moisture for the growing season. Late spring was fairly mild with some moderately warm days resulting in an early budburst. However, an unseasonal nine-day heatwave – peaking at 41.5°C in early November – coincided with flowering causing low fruit set in Chardonnay and Grenache. Warm and mild weather for the remainder of the growing season accelerated ripening for an early vintage. The onset of cool nights in mid-March slowed the final harvest for some later varieties and vineyards. Shiraz was traditionally resilient and produced sound yields of excellent fruit and Cabernet Sauvignon and low yielding Grenache showed excellent colour and flavour development. 2010 will also be remembered for the purest varietal expression of Semillon for some years. In Eden Valley, Riesling, whilst low yielding, had excellent canopy growth, ripened quickly with good flavour and had minimal sunburn. But the standout was Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, where flavours were intense and even, with ideal fruit to canopy balance.
In 2010 there were 13,478 hectares of vineyards in Barossa and 75,629 tonnes of wine grapes were crushed in that vintage.
The original gravity flow winery at Seppeltsfield, built in 1890 for gentle must movement, was restored and re-commissioned for its first full vintage since 1985.
For the third year in a row Halliday’s Wine Companion awarded its only perfect 100 point ranking to Seppeltsfield Para 100 year old Vintage Tawny – this time the 1909 vintage.
Bernard Hickin, Chief Winemaker of Orlando Wines, formally took over the global winemaking reins for Jacob’s Creek from wine industry legend Philip Laffer. Meanwhile Philip Laffer received the 2010 Maurice O’Shea award for his exceptional contribution to the Australian wine industry.
Vigneron of the Year – Robert Seelander
Winemaker of the Year – Wayne Dutschke
SA Wine Grape Crush Survey, Vinehealth Australia and ‘Barossa Vintages: a wine history from 1842’, Peter Fuller