2024 Vintage Blog | Pepper Tree Wines
2024 Vintage with Pepper Tree Wines

While every vintage presents its own challenges, the theme for 2024 really has been "hard and fast". Pepper Tree Head Winemaker, Nick Kruger shares his thoughts on the 2024 Vintage in this latest article.

A Recap on the 2024 Vintage so far

Our first fruit for the year - Hunter Valley Chardonnay - made its way into the winery just three days into the New Year; an entire month ahead of the same parcel of fruit in 2023.

The primary culprits behind such an early season have been consistently hot diurnal temperatures and relatively dry conditions both leading up to, and during the growing season. 

This pattern hasn't been unique to the Hunter Valley however, with our Orange, Wrattonbully and Coonawarra vineyards all ripening earlier across the vintage. With this said, none of these factors are necessarily unfavourable; in fact there is a long history of stellar vintages coming about from incredibly similar conditions. The 2018 vintage immediately comes to mind, with the dry and hot conditions meaning very little disease pressure in the vineyards, and steady ripening allowing for fully developed flavours and varietal character. 


Picking the 2024 Vintage

As with any vintage, the decisions on when to pick can be make or break.Mother nature refuses to be as predictable as the BOM's forecast, and so naturally it was incredibly important to be out in the vineyards on a daily basis - tasting, testing and noting any extra care that a particular block may require. 

Our team has been incredibly diligent and proactive in organising pickers, machinery and all the other logistical intricacies that allow us to pick our fruit when it is absolutely optimal - I'm confident that we've pulled this off for 2024 and I'm already loving what we're seeing in the winery. 


Progress on our Wines

Hunter Valley Chardonnays are exhibiting incredible structure and length, and Semillons are absolutely shining with clean and vibrant aromatics, textural complexity and nuance.

On the red front, we're seeing a universal theme of concentration and richness of flavour - complex and generous fruit profiles are framed by focussed tannins. I'm really excited to track the progress of these in barrel - there's big potential here.

At the time of writing (early April 2024), we have every last parcel of fruit safely with us in the winery. In fact, our whites are now through their very successful ferment stage, and a large portion of our Chardonnay parcels are already resting in barrel. 

A number of our Wrattonbully and Coonawarra reds are almost through ferment, and we look forward to pressing these off and getting them into some of our best French oak soon. The theme for our South Australian reds appears to be generosity, concentration and intensity. I can’t wait to see how they shape up post-ferment -  I think we’re in for a treat.


Old Vine Barossa Shiraz

Excitingly, we also now have the second vintage of Old Vine Barossa Shiraz sitting in barrel. The 2023 vintage marked Pepper Tree’s first foray into the Barossa Region, and we’re following this up with another premium parcel of fruit in 2024. I’m proud to say these grapes are grown on my own family vineyard, with the vines being over 100 years old. Carefully tended to by my father Darrell, these vines have consistently produced outstanding wines and I’m now fortunate enough to be making Pepper Tree’s first premium Barossa Shiraz with this fruit. While it’s a matter of time and patience before we see the fruits of our labour in bottle, our exceptional 2023 Barossa Shiraz will be seeing the light of day soon. Certainly one to look out for.


Coming up for 2024 Vintage

While the “hard and fast” part of the year is coming to a close, we now need to focus on refining these wines to reflect the extraordinary vineyards they’re produced from - constant barrel tasting and testing is now of utmost importance. We’re also now polishing our 2024 aromatic whites as they head towards bottling in the next couple of months; keep an eye out for our first ‘24 whites soon, they’re shaping up to be spectacular!


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