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Descendants of the Schrapel family have been caretakers of vineyards in the Barossa Valley for more than 150 years. Today, those very vineyards continue to be nurtured to produce what have become some of the most iconic wines in the Valley.

Vintage Reports

2017 Vintage Report

As grape growers and winemakers the weather is pretty important to us, so we all have fancy apps on our phones that predict rain, wind, heat and frosts with an unfortunately variable level of accuracy!  We tend to spend a great deal of time during vintage perusing said apps and trying to match forecasts with fruit maturity, the availability of picking crews and fermentation space in the cellar.  It can be a stressful time.  I’m pleased to say though that in 2017 it was a pleasure!

For us in the Barossa Valley, and more specifically for our little patch of dirt on the Eastern ridge of the Barossa Foothills, the weather conditions this year were just about perfect; warm ripening days, cool nights, a couple of splashes of rain in January and February, and a wonderful Indian summer through March and April allowing long, slow ripening of the grapes.  The upshot is that the fruit we harvested was perfectly ripe, with balanced fruit flavours, good natural acidity, lovely purity of expression and balanced sugar levels.  All this means one thing – great wines!  From our first pick on 19th February (Semillon) to our last pick on 25th April (Mataro) we were over the moon with the results and can’t wait to share them with you.

We have already bottled our 2017 Rieslings and brand new Grenache based Rosé whilst all our reds are through their secondary fermentation and are entering their restful period of maturation in barrel to enhance and develop all those wonderful flavours.  The relative lateness of the harvest means the second half of the year is a bit more compressed than usual but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

2016 Vintage Report

The 2016 vintage is showing strong indications of being a standout vintage boasting higher than average yields and fruit of excellent quality. The growing season was characterised by low winter and spring rainfall, followed by a warm December reducing bunch weights. A refreshing break in the weather on the 21st of January saw 1.5 inches of rain fall on our Bethany vineyards.These milder temperatures continued into February allowing for slow ripening conditioning with the whites retaining a good balance of acidity and sugar ripeness. Harvest started at Bethany on the 25th of January with Semillon from our Manse and Bethanien blocks. Post ‘crush’ tastings of the Shiraz show fruit of outstanding depth of colour and vibrant fresh fruit characters.

2015 Vintage Report

This year’s vintage will be remembered as one of the shortest and fastest we have experienced in years. In spring, near perfect, mild ripening conditions continued through to December/January with below average temperatures. In the second week of January, Bethany Wines recorded 47mm of rainfall at our Barossa Ranges vineyards replenishing soil moisture and setting up the vines for perfect ripening conditions. The warmer weather in February accelerated ripening with vintage starting at on 31st January. The first fruit to come across the weighbridge was Semillon from the Bethanien Vineyard, followed by Cabernet Franc from the Quarry Vineyard and two weeks later, Shiraz from the Homestead Vineyard. Grenache kept us moving fast, ripening nearly one month earlier than usual, we finished hand picking the Grenache fruit by end of the first week of March.

In summary the 2015 indicates a great vintage with both above average grape yields and high quality fruit from our old established vineyards. Eden Valley Riesling and Barossa Valley Shiraz appear to have outstanding potential. The Riesling has delicate flavours with great fine acidity while the Shiraz has full ripeness and strong colours balanced by good natural acid.

2014 Vintage Report

When it comes to the wine harvest, they say the even years are the best. While it’s too early to say what the fruits of vintage 2014 will bear, all indications are pointing in a positive direction, with quality grapes and average yields. The weather leading up to vintage in the Barossa was eclectic. A wet winter followed by frost during November 2013 was a cause for concern. Fortunately, our vines didn't suffer, with frost damage nowhere to be seen. Mild conditions from December to January dominated the Barossa, but was interrupted by a heat spell in late January. Thankfully, good vineyard management practices prior to ripening allowed vines to respond well to these conditions. The Barossa received good rainfall in mid-February which provided for slow and steady ripening conditions. Barossa Valley Riesling, Semillon and Chardonnay were first to be picked in early February, followed by Cabernet Franc, Shiraz and Riesling.

2013 Vintage Report

The Barossa Valley confronted one of the earliest, smallest and quickest vintages in 2013, but quality is outstanding. Rainfall in 2012 was the fifth driest on record, leading to early irrigation scheduling to give the vines the best possible start to the season. A cooler than average January followed by a warm February sped things up in the vineyard, leading to an early harvest. Vintage started at Bethany on January 31 with Semillon first across the weighbridge and finishing on the March 19 just before a refreshing down pour of 16mm. Despite low yields, quality is strong across the board with reds showing intense flavours, good colour and firm tannins, and whites retaining natural acidity and great flavours.

2012 Vintage Report

Near perfect growing conditions saw many wine critics and producers tout the 2012 Barossa vintage as one of the best in decades. A wet winter and a cool spring allowed for ample soil moisture and left good reserves of groundwater for the dry summer months. A mild summer with cool nights, moderate days and only one short heatwave facilitated good fruit set, and even, disease-free ripening. For Bethany Wines, vintage started on February 15 with white varieties Riesling, Semillon and Chardonnay all ripening in short succession. An intense seven weeks saw vintage 2012 wrap up on April 12 with the last pick of Shiraz going through the crusher. Cooler conditions led to an excellent growing season with white wines showing delicate flavours and aromas, while the reds were full of density, colour and rich flavour. Despite lower than average yields, the quality of the wines from the 2012 Barossa vintage is set to be exceptional.