Andrew's 2023 Vintage Report

So that’s a wrap. Vintage 2023 is in the bag, with much of our anticipated harvest safely picked with perfect ripeness, flavours and chemistry and without the pressure that vintage weather in this maritime climate of the Hunter Valley can sometimes give.

The previous three years of La Nina patterns continued into the spring of 2022, giving cool wet growing conditions and a few extra challenges for all grape growers in the Hunter. As always, only the strong survive, and any viticulturist that was pre-emptive around disease management was rewarded with minimum damage and potential crop reductions. As we rounded the corner into veraison, the weather shifted to mostly mild, warm and dry. From mid-December until the third week in February, we have had the occasional storms that gave us momentary panic but ended up simply refreshing the vines.

The Hunter often experiences a reasonable diurnal temperature difference where while the days may be warm to hot, the nights cool right down. This preserves the natural acidity whilst fruit flavours and sugar slowly develop. We started picking two to three weeks later than usual due to the wet, cool spring (and saturated water table from the July floods), but that has meant increased hang time, providing us a slower accumulation of concentrated flavours. Crop levels are generally normal for the whites and reds, and I would be giving the vintage a ‘9 out of 10’ rating for quality as it sits right now across whites and reds. The reds, in particular look fantastic with great colour and flavours. We even made a Botrytised Semillon this year, which we will release in a few months.

Hard to compare this year with any of the 40 vintages I have done in the Hunter, as this one felt different with a later harvest time and then very, very drawn out, so I had to be patient. And I am not good at that. But I am excited by the flavours we have had and there isn’t an ordinary wine from this vintage. Apart from our solid and tireless vineyard and winery team, it was great having two of our (now adult) children working with us across all viticulture and winemaking operations. Ollie in particular, stepped up and sometimes the ‘old dog ‘ was learning new tricks, and sometimes I was teaching new tricks. It’s an evolution. Alessa continued south to the vintage in the Yarra Valley. Lisa, as always, leads the support crew. 27 vintages for Margan Wines, and we are still loving it all!

Andrew Margan