Bumper season for South Coast vineyards

With harvest just weeks away, 2013-14 is shaping up to be a bumper season for South Coast vineyards.

Shoalhaven Coast Wine Industry Association president Barry Starkey said local vineyards were looking forward to a good harvest.

‘‘It’s been a fantastic season so far, we just now need to get through to the end of the month when we will start harvesting,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s been a dry season and not too much wind – the growing conditions have been perfect.’’

Ben Wallis of Coolangatta Estate said harvest could be just weeks away.

‘‘It’s all shaping up well, we’ve been blessed with the weather but I’ll be a lot happier when we have some of the harvest in the bags,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s been lots of varying weather around the state and some other wine regions haven’t been as lucky as we have so far been.

‘‘But locally everything is on track for a good year and we hope to get our harvest under way in about two weeks.’’

Godwin Felice, of Crooked River Winery is also reporting a bumper crop.

‘‘Spring has been brilliant and it’s looking like a good season,’’ he said.

However, he said work on the $329 million, 7.5 kilometre upgrade of the Princes Highway, between Mount Pleasant and Toolijooa Road, which runs past his business, had affected trade.

‘‘It will be a lot better once the works are completed,’’ he said.

The Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward, yesterday presented Mr Starkey with $10,000 funding from the state government’s Regional Flagship Events Program to support the 2014 Shoalhaven Winter Wine Festival.

The festival will be held from June 7 to 9 at 13 participating vineyards, including Coolangatta Estate, Two Figs, Crooked River Winery, Mountain Ridge Wines and Cambewarra Estate.

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