Brands Spill the Grapes on Vintage 2021…

We reached out to some friends of the Cellr Blog to get the inside scoop on what to expect from Vintage 2021.

What we asked: How are you feeling about this year’s vintage, and what can we expect?

What they said:

Vintage ’21 has been the glorious vintage we all needed after the travails of 2020. The weather goddess sent the Adelaide Hills consistently fine days, lovely and warm, so that everything ripened up nice and evenly. You can expect whites bursting with aromatics and flavours, and reds with plush fruit and superb tannins. Blessings in abundance!

Marc Dobson, Hahndorf Hill Winery

We are so thrilled with this year’s vintage, after the challenges of last year and losing our entire Adelaide Hills fruit to the bushfires and smoke taint. The yields both in the Adelaide Hills and the Clare Valley are excellent. This year is outstanding in all respects!

The cool summer after a wet spring made for optimal growing conditions.  The cool and slow ripening meant the natural acidity was retained and allowed exceptional flavours to develop. We could not have asked for a better vintage. We can expect vintage 21 across the board to be one of those perfect years where the fruit is full of intense flavours and yields are high, there will, I predict be some great wines made from this vintage. We will certainly be bottling some!

Judy Kelly, Artwine

Vintage ’21 will be remembered as one of the most perfect ripening seasons, as well as one of the longest. It will be remembered as one of those rare vintages that combines quality with quantity. It will be remembered as a vintage so good, that the external worries facing the industry (Covid-19 and Chinese tariffs) could be forgotten. 

Giles Cooke MW Thistledown Wines

Vintage 21 is a little bittersweet for us. The long ripening season in Wrattonbully has resulted in the production of some really sensational fruit. Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet for us are all looking and tasting amazing in the winery. Yields were also really pleasing with bud burst, flowering and fruit set all happening in near perfect conditions. That is the sweet part!

The other aspect is that the uncertainty around China and the imposed tariffs resulted in some of the larger wine companies, who we usually grow fruit for, not having the appetite to purchase fruit which was not specifically under contract. This resulted in an oversupply, everywhere really, which put downward pressure of grape prices, however “fortune favours the brave” and there will be some truly excellent wines from this region in a few years with 2021 stamped on the label… 

Jane Richards, Eight at the Gate WInes

The 2021 Vintage has been one of the most exciting and productive I can recall.

We took full advantage of some great yields to explore some sub-site and micro-terroir winemaking, while producing good stocks of some favourites that have been in scant supply over the past couple of years.

When it comes to standouts, our legendary Apricot Block vineyard has been picked and vinified in its two sub-sections (Hill & Gully) which put the unique character of the site on show beautifully. We’ll be creating the classic Apricot Block Shiraz from these components but plan to produce a limited bottling of each parcel to really explore what the site is capable of.

A special Grenache project using a section of the Roennfeldt Road plantings is showing real promise with a much-loved variety and vineyard.

Tasting a barrel sample of the 2021 Seven Acre Shiraz, it’s clear that Greenock Creek have vinified a suite of wines in 2021 that exemplify what each sub-region (Marananga/Gnadenfrei, Seppeltsfield & Moppa) and vineyard is known for.

This year is all about character and confidence, tempered by a light touch, elegance, and control.

Kieron Lomax, Greenock Creek Wines

We are super excited by the fruit we have harvested in 2021.  The quality and yields are sensational and our Riesling wines in particular are going to be stunning!

Terry Chellappah, Plan B! Wines

The season posed some challenges with rain in early February followed by unseasonably cool temperatures delaying the start of the white harvest, although slowing everything down and allowing flavour to develop was the benefit in the end. The rain and cooler temperatures gave reds a much needed drink, allowed colour to intensify and the following warmer finish allowed them to maximise flavour expression.

Expect zippy, floral, citrussy well balanced Rieslings, fragrant and grassy Sauvignon Blanc, minerality and fine aromas of nashi and stonefruit in Pinot Grigio, fleshy and textured Chardonnay with a fine acidity through the core, vibrant Shiraz, deeply coloured and structured Cabernet and elegantly lifted Pinot Noir.

Fruit aside, in 2021 we’re excited to be launching a whole stack of new varieties, as well as launching two new ranges and refreshed packaging on some of our current ranges. Lots going on as always!

In the end 2021 started late, finished early and across the board quality very, very good!

James Major, Castelli Estates

First off we are looking forward to actually having stock again, as some varieties of our 2020 vintage have sold out- or are very close to being sold before bottling this May. We are also excited about the quality of wine to come through this year as we have made changes to our vineyard through soil management, different pruning techniques and water scheduling that should start to see results this year and next.


Some of the challenges we have faced this year have been labour shortages especially fruit pickers and travel lockdowns, both due to the pandemic. In addition, unexpected summer rain, which has extended ripening time and prolonged vintage, and neighbouring fires. We have always worked out ways to carry on through the many challenges that pop up. The majority of our fruit is now machine harvested which has allowed us to decide exactly when we want the fruit to come off the vine, thus not relying heavily on picking teams to get the job done, were possible. Luckily for us the summer rain and fires didn’t affect the grapes.

Joel & Adam Garbin, Garbin Estate

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