Grower elated with 'sensational' harvest

February is normally a very stressful time of year for wine growers, but there were no signs of that in Coolangatta Estate vigneron Greg Bishop's face yesterday.

"We are delighted," Mr Bishop said.

"All indications are to this point that it is looking like the vintage of the decade. It has been sensational for us. It has also been quicker. This has never happened before. We started on the 29th of January and we finished before the end of February. It is unheard of."

Mr Bishop said that was a reflection of the season.

It has not been as humid this summer, there has been a nice steady breeze through the vines and there has been just enough rain but not too much.

"It looks like everyone in the country is going to be early," he said.

"The Hunter has wrapped up now as well. They are normally two weeks ahead of us."

Prior to the harvest, Mr Bishop said the tannat and chardonnay grape varieties looked particularly good, and yesterday he said they still felt the same as they came off the vines.

"The chardonnay is looking fantastic," he said.

"In fact, everything we have picked the winemakers [at Tyrrells] are ecstatic about, actually. They are really happy with the fruit. They get quite excited to see what the fruit is like from the Shoalhaven.

"It has all been very positive. Both semillons have come off really well, as has the verdelho, and we have done a couple of sweet wines this year for the first time which are looking really smart. The tempranillo we picked a couple of weeks ago also looked really good. So we are pretty pleased. This year it has just gone beautifully."

All local wine producers have reported a good harvest, which means there will also be plenty to celebrate at what is shaping up to be the biggest and best Shoalhaven Coast Winter Wine Festival on the June long weekend.

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