Margaret River's brutally hot Summer of 2024 vintage - Seasonal Update


It’s been a growing season like no other in Margaret River, defined by consistently higher than normal temperatures which has led to early budburst and phenological development in wine grapes.

Jim Campbell-Clause from AHA Viticulture ventures that this is a season to learn from, having provided many opportunities to identify and manage the hot conditions. In this clip, Mike Sleegers from Cowaramup Agencies talks with Jim about the various pressures of the season, including:

• Weather
• Sunburn on fruit
• Irrigation
• Canopy Management
• Birds

And importantly vineyard management after harvest, which is rapidly approaching for many growers. They even have a crack at predicting the Break In The Season at the end of the clip.

Seasonal update in viticulture


This roundup of Margaret Rivers growing season by AHA Viticulture takes a look at what warmer temperatures mean for vines as they progress quickly through phenological stages and what to be looking out for as vintage 2024 quickly approaches.


Pruning 2023


Pruning is well underway.

Pruning planning started with bud dissections to determine fruitfulness.  Using bud dissection data, vine condition, fruit specification requirements and yield targets pruning method was determined.

The annual pruning plan was then planned based on resources, the season and trying to determine the best time to prune each block to achieve a planned time of budburst, yield and quality.

Pruning started with laying down canes in gaps, mechanical passes, then hand clean up for spur pruning and cane pruning.

Seasonal Workers


Our Seasonal Workers have arrived from Timor Leste.

We are very proud to announce eight workers from Timor Leste are now pruning in the vineyards.

We were very pleased that three of the team have returned Patrocinio, Paulino, and Salvador.


Margaret River Vintage 2023 Viticulture Update



Margaret River Vintage 2023 Viticulture Update

JANUARY Weather Update


The weather for January was warm, dry and windy.

Rainfall was virtually non-existent, with just 0.8mm for the month. 

We finally experienced consistently warm conditions.  The minimum and maximum temperatures were in line with long-term average conditions, and there was little variation in temperatures from day to day.  The consistent warm conditions without low or high extremes have been good for grapevine growth and development, and we have seen vine phenology progressing evenly and consistently.  

The vines are now tracking close to normal, and we expect to see the first harvests late in February. We are sitting at 1013 GDD, which is now warmer than in 2017 and close to the 2005 and 2009 seasons at the same stage.

Season update in viticulture


As we move to the pointy end of the season, Mike discusses how the vineyards are looking with AHA's Jim Campbell-Clause in a seasonal update.


Bird netting, clip-on vine ties, post cap protectors, botrytis sprays and firefighting pumps and units are topical at this time, Last week we held a winery wastewater session showcasing an Amiad Cembrane wastewater system.




Pruning and bud dissection

It is useful to check bud fruitfulness before pruning to determine the bud number to prune to achieve your goal yields.

AHA Viticulture has provided a bud dissection service for many years and it continues to provide a useful source of data for making pruning decisions. 

The main reasons to use this service are to:

  • Obtain early information on next year’s potential crop load (vintage 2023)
  • Identify possible causes for yield decline, for example mites or primary bud necrosis. Also we can identify if useful predatory mites are present.
  • Access information that allows more informed decisions at pruning.

Please contact us for further information on collecting samples, prices and interpretation of results.

End on vintage 22 in the Margaret River Region


It's been a growing season like to other - a very cool Spring leading into a very warm Summer that lasted mid-November through to February.

Harvest started early, with whites done by late February. Then it was straight on to the reds with most finished by Easter.

Negligible disease, little bird pressure and generally good fruit set and yields has let to satisfying and quality winery receivals in 2022.


1. Check, flush and maintain irrigation A good break to the season is a chance to get maintain your irrigation while soil is wet

2. Soil test for PH, salinity & poor performing patches Look for where the issues are

3. Cover crops Cover crop to improve a soil issue or increase biodiversity Soils are warm, so seeds should take off

4. Assess fruitfulness before pruning AHA can help with bud assessments in May/June to determine fruitfulness prior to pruning

5. Plan for pruning Bud assessments will help determine expected crops and therefore help to plan pruning.


Jim's predictions for next season? You'll have to listen in!



How is the Margaret River region's fruit looking in 2022?


AHA Viticulture's Jim Campbell Clause and Mike Sleegers from Cowaramup Agencies discuss the state of viticulture in the Margaret River region as vintage hits full swing.

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia


Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (SWA) has gained impetus nationally with many wineries now using the system.  The system is acquiring international recognition and is likely to become more and recognised and demanded in local and interationl markets.

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia is a voluntary enviromental assurance program that allows winemakers and wine grape growers to receive formal certification of their practices according to recognised standards. AHA is currently assisting growers in the region in Freshcare, a WFA approved, independently audited enviromental certification program. Currently we have a number of vineyards accredited so feel free to contact us to see how we can certify you.

We can assist with the initial set up of Freshcare and provide ongoing support.

Please contact Michale Gray for further information on 97568011 or 0427479474



We provide a monitoring service for many clients in the South West.  A monitoring program provides early detection of vineyard pests, fungal pathogens and bacterial diseases, potentially saving money on sprays or preventing crop damage. Current activities include:

  • Pest and Disease monitoring- with the growing season well underway, our scouts are now checking for pests and diseases over flowering.
  • Petiole samples- completed at flowering this gives each block sampled very useful data of the vine's nutrition, which can then be used to adjust the fertiliser program this season or to help formulate next years nutrition program. 
  • Yield Estimation- completed once berries have set, this information is provided to purchasing wineries and used to ensure we are on track to produce the quality parameters targeted.

The vines are flowering we are now collecting petioles to help with nutrition decisions and are carrying out crop estimations.

Please contact the office on 97568011 if we can be of assistance in these areas.

The 2021 Growing Season.


The 2021-22 growing season and been cool and wet so far but is starting to warm up.  The GDD data (Growing Degree Days) show we are ahead of 2006 and are similar to 2019 and 2005.  We are around 10-14 days behind last season’s vine phenology.  A warm summer will help, but late flowering will usually delay vintage. Soils have taken a long time to warm up, and blocks exposed to cold wind (exposure) have smaller canopies.

ASVO Viticulturist of the Year



We would like to congratulate Colin Bell on winning the ASVO award for “Viticulturist of the Year”!!

Colin is the first West Australian to win this prestigious award and is testament to his hard work and dedication to the wine grape industry.


Industry Development


Jim Campbell-Clause has been busy attending Vinitech in Bordeaux this month. We are greatly looking forward to hearing all about his experiences and knowledge upon his return. 

Colin Bell continues to be busy with industry development both regionally and nationally. This includes his ongoing representation as a board member of Australian Vignerons. He has also been working on the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference Committee who are organising an exciting program for the conference to be held in July 2019.

Mike Gray on behalf of Southwest Capes Water Users Group Inc. has been busy writing submissions and canvassing politicians support regarding the proposed introduction to water licence fees.