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Duncan Harris from Harris Organic in Baskerville is harvesting brown muscat grapes after finishing picking earlier ripening madeleine grapes. Picture: ANITA McINNES

Swan Valley vintage has started

SOME Swan Valley growers have already started harvesting their grapes but full scale vintage is yet to get underway.

Duncan Harris from Harris Organic has finished picking his madeleine crop, which he started harvesting more than a week ago.

Mr Harris said the madeleine was an early ripening grape from the Loire Valley.

“These grapes will be made into a flor fino wine, these days called apera, meaning aperitive,’’ he said.

Earlier this week Mr Harris, who has 2ha of grape vines in Baskerville, started picking a brown muscat while his chardonnay plantings needed some more time to ripen.

He also has some pedro ximenez, which won’t be ready for picking until April.

John Griffiths from Faber Vineyard in Baskerville started harvesting his chardonnay crop at 6.30am on Tuesday.

Mr Griffiths said the chardonnay grapes would be used for making sparkling wine so they could be less ripe.

He expects to start harvesting his verdelho crop next week.

An excited Mr Griffiths, who is president of the Swan Valley & Regional Winemakers Association, said he was expecting this year’s harvest to be the biggest at the vineyard.

He said there had been good winter and spring rainfall and his crop was perfect.

“I know there’s a lot of hyperbole in this industry but it’s looking like a fantastic year for the Swan Valley,’’ he said.

In Herne Hill Simon and Maaike Berns are still to start vintage.

Maaike Berns said their verdelho and chardonnay crop were almost ready for harvesting and they expected to start picking early in the coming week.

In December the Swan Valley & Regional Winemakers Association said Western Australian wine writer Ray Jordan said the Swan Valley continued to be an important wine producing region in the state.

“The quality of wines being produced is testament to the wine making and the quality of fruit,’’ he said.

“The range of wines being produced is excellent with soft and generous reds and flavoursome aromatic whites such as verdelho and chenin strong features.

“The recent focus on using old vine shiraz and grenache to create wines that capture the essence of the Swan Valley has been one of the highlights.’’

By Anita McInnes

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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