Moss Wood vineyard at sunset

Vintage 2024 Report

It is extremely rare that as winemakers in Margaret River we get to enjoy time off over the Easter weekend, however, this year we did! The 2024 season was characterised by warm and dry conditions and our vineyard weather station has confirmed that it is the warmest season we have had since 2007. The last batch of Ribbon Vale Cabernet Sauvignon was pressed on Monday 25th March, officially marking the end of our vintage, giving us some time to reflect on what occurred during the season.


Vintage commenced on the 29th January when we picked the first batch of Pinot Noir. Upon weighing the bins, we received our first indication of the impact of the dry season on our unirrigated vineyards, with yields of 5.1 tonnes/ha, down 20% on average. Fruit condition and flavours were excellent, however, which in the end is all that matters at Moss Wood!


Moss Wood Chardonnay was the next cab off the rank on the 2nd and 5th February and again we were thrilled with the flavours in the fruit, however, the overall yield of 4.1 tonnes/ha (48% below average) won’t impress the bank manager!


Ribbon Vale Sauvignon Blanc followed immediately after on the 6th February and with Moss Wood Semillon and Ribbon Vale Chardonnay being picked on the 13th and 14th February respectively, the white harvest for 2024 was finished before we’d had a chance to blink!


In a fast-moving season, we were fortunate to have a few quieter weeks as the Cabernet varieties approached optimum ripeness and this meant that we were able to focus on the fermentations of all of the white varieties and get these to barrel where required.


We commenced picking Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon on the 29th February and the theme of the season continued, low yields but excellent flavours. Interesting to note is that this is our earliest ever harvest date on Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon, and while the warm season was the major factor in this, the yields being 36% below average certainly contributed.


Ribbon Vale Merlot was picked on the 7th March and this gave us our first taste of the new clones of Merlot that we have grafted to in the vineyard. We have 3 new clones: 181, Q45 and 343 and we have been following the fermentation of these clones with interest. So far, they appear to have unique aromatic and flavour profiles as compared to our existing old vine Merlot and we’re excited to see how they contribute to our Ribbon Vale Merlot style over the coming years.


The harvest concluded with Ribbon Vale Cabernet Sauvignon coming off on the 10th March and from there all that was left to do was safely get the Cabernet batches through fermentation and then into the press. We can happily report that this has been achieved with about half of the 2024 wines safely tucked away in barrel and the rest will be following suit over the next few weeks!


Given the warm temperatures we saw during the season, the easy historical reference point is to point to the 2007 season for comparison. Going further back into the archives, Keith notes the similarities in aroma and tannin profiles to the wines of 1995. If the wines we have made in 2024 are anything like either of these years, we’ll be a happy family!