Chardonnay delight in solid harvest prediction

The 2014 wine harvest has started in the Shoalhaven.

And though industry pioneer Greg Bishop never likes to predict the outcome until all the grapes are picked, he said the quantity and quality of the fruit on the vines this year looked as good as any he had seen.

The Coolangatta Estate vigneron said the Shoalhaven Coast wine region generally mirrored the Hunter, where predictions were it would be a bumper harvest.

Mr Bishop said the Shoalhaven tended to be a week or two behind the Hunter.

"They are absolutely beside themselves with the quality up there this year," he said.

Mr Bishop said at Coolangatta Estate the yield looked like it would be up but a lot could still happen in the next few weeks.

The Verdelho is the first variety being picked and is coming off the vines about a week earlier this year.

"But to be honest the star at the moment is a variety we have had not had much luck with for a couple of years," he said.

"This year the Chardonnay is looking great. It hasn't been yielding well for years but this year it has really come on with big beautiful gold bunches. It looks sensational."

Mr Bishop said the Tannat was also looking particularly good.

"The grapes all look great to this point but we are always pretty reserved about it all and try to contain our excitement because we have been damaged before when we think everything is right. Last year we had perfect conditions and then the heat hit just before harvest."

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