What is in store for the wine industry this year ?
The year 2020 saw much of our crop destroyed after the impact of smoke taint from the devastating fires that swept our country.
The year 2021 brought business challenges through lockdowns and reduce numbers of people visiting our winery.
As we head optimistically into harvest for the 2022 season, we are hopeful that the reported shortage of a key ingredient will not prove too challenging this harvest season.
Australia’s wine makers have been advised to plan ahead for rising costs and reduced supplies of diammonium phosphate (DAP), a nitrogen fertiliser used during grape fermentation.
Of most concern is that small-to-medium wine producers such as family businesses, may not be able to secure supplies of DAP ahead of harvest for the 2022 vintage.
Why is DAP needed to make wine?
Grapes are high in sugar when harvested and strains of yeast are used to ferment that sugar into drinking alcohol (ethanol) and carbon dioxide.
Yeast are living organisms that use nitrogen as a food source. If the yeast do not have enough nitrogen, the ferment can not complete. Nitrogen also has a significant impact on flavour and aroma.
The nitrogen that the yeast consume come from either inorganic sources, which are those that do not contain carbon, such as DAP or chemically organic (carbon-containing) sources. Supplies of organic nitrogen are available and can be used as alternatives to DAP, but winemakers will not be able to rely on them wholly.
The quality of the wine produced is not likely to be affected by the shortage of DAP but it may mean that the winemakers will need to work ‘extra’ hard at harvest time.
At Grove Estate Wines, harvest begins in February.
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