Declaration of Vintage 2019

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The traditional Declaration of Vintage 2019, was held on Sunday 17 February, with Louisa Rose once again dusting off her crystal ball and reporting that "“Mother Nature willing, it should be another great Barossa and Eden Valley vintage." 


"A dry winter and spring, windy weather at flowering, and November frosts have combined and resulted in a variable and generally lower than average fruit set," Louisa said. "A hot and dry January has led to some stress – mostly among the people of the Barossa - but many vineyards have again shown how strong and resilient they are, coming through the month with good canopies ready to veraise and ripen their grapes in the cooler February and autumn, albeit with small berries. Vintage has just started for some, early quality, flavours, and colour looks exceptional although unsurprisingly crops are smaller than average.   If you are a believer that vintage timing follows Easter then we should be in for an even and steady harvest period."

During the ceremony, Barons of Barossa welcomed Dragan Radocaj, Victoria McClurg, Jamie Gladigau, Ben Radford, Stephen Mack and Jennie Mack into the fraternity.

Stephen Henschke said the Barons had been proudly supporting Barossa wine, viticulture, gastronomy, heritage and the arts in this region since 1975. "This year, we are thrilled to recognise the impact these six people have had on our region," he said.

This new intake of Barons acknowledges the contributions each person has made to the wider Barossa in the fields of photography, food, tourism, architecture and wine, bringing a dynamic new generation of community service to the fraternity. See Barons' profiles for more details.

The Barons also announced the 2019 Barossa Winemaker of the Year and the 2019 Barossa Viticulturist of the Year as Tim Smith and Ben Zander respectively.

Tim Smith said,  “I’m humbled to be chosen to be part of this lineage of truly great winemakers. I’m not a fourth or fifth generation Barossa winemaker. In fact, I’m only here because I fortuitously landed a vintage job at Yalumba 33 years ago, leading me on a completely unexpected and exciting path.”

Earning his Barossa pedigree over years of working alongside some of the region’s finest winemakers, he acknowledges their influence on his approach to winemaking; accessing great vineyards, timely picking, a light hand in the winery and a sensibility for tradition.  

“I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the greatest winemakers in the world here, all of who have been generous with their time and their knowledge.”

According to Tim, being part of the ‘handing down’ of experience, both locally and through his extensive travel, is all part of the continuum that is the unique Barossa culture.

Ben Zander, on the other hand, is a fourth generation Eden Valley grape grower managing the family mixed vineyard and grazing property as well as a contracting enterprise.

With a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture from Roseworthy and a long stint as SA Viticulturist for Pernod Ricard, he has first hand knowledge of what it takes to achieve best practice viticulture across all aspects of vineyard management.

He said, “There are numerous issues facing grape growers. It’s important for us to communicate with each other as we strive to understand and adapt to the current grape growing environment and adopt new principles for future sustainability.”

Ben’s father, Ian Zander, received the same award in 1992, an acknowledgement of the generational change occurring successfully in this region.