Thorn-Clarke Wines

2020 Pre-Vintage Report



January in the Barossa is much like the day before a footy grand final: full of nervous anticipation. All the preparations have been made and the hard work put in to be ready and firing when the match begins. But even with all of that, the outcome is still undecided!

In our Eden Valley winery, there is a distinctive excitement and anticipation being felt by the team that only comes with the Vintage harvest. Our fermenters are shining and clean, older barrels are empty and we are taking delivery of our new 2020 oak. In the next two weeks we should see the first harvest of the season come into the winery for crushing and fermentation and when that first load comes across the weighbridge, the real test begins. Only then can we can see the true fruits of what nature, our vineyards and our vineyard team have produced.

The very dry weather combined with windy and hot conditions have limited the amount of grapes each vine can produce this season.  As a result we should see fragrant and lively white wines and richly coloured, densely fruited reds. The downside is you’ll have to be quick to try some, there won’t be much to go around!

– Peter Kelly, Senior Winemaker



Here at the onset of harvest, two significant factors have significantly shaped the outcome of this Vintage.

Firstly, the ongoing lack of rainfall prior and during the growing season. This has led to an increased reliance upon supplementary watering, starting well prior to budburst and continuing to present time. Careful management of this is critical to make best use of scarce water resources and to ensure most efficient water use by the vines. Daily checks of soil moisture monitoring data, together with visual inspections and frequent updates to irrigation schedules are all important in aiming for a quality outcome.

Secondly, weather during flowering has led to a lower than desired fruit set. Two main factors were at play here. Firstly, temperature fluctuated significantly above and below the optimum range of 15ºC to 30ºC resulting in poor pollen viability and reduced set. Additionally, strong wind results in pollen drying and again poor pollen viability and reduced set.

On a good note, the vines have persevered very well so far, with canopies remaining fresh and green and the bunches in very healthy condition with no disease or pest issues, indicating a very high quality Vintage across both red and white varieties.

– Steve Fiebiger, Head Viticulturist