Vintage 2024 – Challenges and rewards.
May 2, 2024

Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) is a distinguished collective of renowned multi-generational family-owned wineries across eight historic regions. This year’s vintage reveals the depth and variety of Australia’s rich wine regions.

Consistent themes across regions included challenging weather conditions that varied from heavy rains to dry spells and early frost. Despite these challenges, the quality of the wines has been consistently high, showcasing the resilience of our vineyards. Yields were generally slightly lower than average but were offset by the exceptional quality of both white and red varietals, indicating a promising vintage. Those with interests in the region reported Adelaide Hills as suffering from particularly poor fruit set, but the limited yield that resulted was of enormously high quality.

Here’s an update from each winery, reflecting our shared tradition of excellence:

Brown Brothers

A wet spring led to a mild, sunny vintage period, concluding before Easter. While yield was slightly below the long-term average, the quality of both white and red wines excelled, with robust flavors and acidity promising a year of outstanding wines. Crop levels for King Valley are slightly low but yields are of very good quality. Should be a year for some great wines.


Despite early frost challenges, our vines recovered well, producing a balanced crop and yields above forecast. Innovations this year included experimenting with alternate white varieties and whole bunch ferments, adding excitement to our winery’s bustling activity. Our 60s Block red and white varieties, especially Shiraz, are showing promising depth and flavour.

A wet winter followed by a dry spring set the stage for a challenging but successful harvest. Early varieties like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc avoided a later heat wave, maintaining strong varietal character and acidity. Yields were generally lower although Grenache bucked the trend with a good crop, and other contemporary varieties thrived under these conditions. with Cabernet Sauvignons notable stand out.

Significant early rainfall followed by a dry spring created challenging yet rewarding conditions. A focus on canopy health was critical, with grapes achieving optimal maturity. The resulting wines, particularly Rieslings, showcase intense primary fruit flavours and stunning acidity, with Shiraz and Grenache also standing out for their vibrant fruit and tannin ripeness.

Howard Park
Consistently warm and dry weather has led to ideal ripening conditions for V24. Margaret River has experienced above average maximum temperatures but no heat spikes, so vines were functioning at full capacity, which has led to one of the earliest vintages in recent history. Moderate yields enhanced quality, ensuring wines with great strength and balance from this region.

Jim Barry Wines
Unexpected cool weather produced excellent fruit conditions, especially for Riesling, harvested starting in mid-February. Although red fruit yields were slightly below average, the quality was enhanced by late warm conditions allowing prolonged ripening through March and early April, promising powerful yet refined Shiraz and Cabernet.

A dry winter and subsequent heavy rainfall created high disease pressure before heavy rainfall in early January resulted in flooding from the Goulburn River to some of the Estate’s lower lying vineyards. Thankfully this did not impede a successful harvest and one of the earliest recorded finishes since 1931. While overall yields were down, the quality of Grenache, Marsanne, and Viognier was very good, with Shiraz potentially having an exceptional year.

The January weather was typical for Clare Valley with pleasant conditions and slightly below-average rainfall. February continued this trend with mild weather, and notably, no rainfall was recorded for the month. This consistent weather contributed to a ‘fast vintage’, where grapes ripened quickly and uniformly, allowing us to harvest most varieties by the end of February. This year promises excellent quality wines, particularly from our white varieties.

Notably 2024 marks the first vintage for Hugh Taylor, 4th generation family member, who worked as a Cellar hand.

Tyrrell’s Wines
This vintage marked one of the earliest starts on record in the Hunter Valley, with dry conditions prevailing through spring and beneficial rains in December. Crop levels were roughly 35% down across the board however the quality is well above average with all varietals looking great post-ferment.

The season commenced with warm days and cool nights, which were ideal for developing pristine aromatics and beautiful natural acidity in our white wines, especially Viognier. As the season advanced, the conditions favoured excellent flavour and tannin development in our red wines. Grenache and Shiraz are particularly noteworthy, with the former displaying a lovely elegance and the latter a robust concentration and depth. While Cabernet Sauvignon has had another standout year and promises to make some wines of great structure and longevity.

The 2024 vintage, shaped by climatic challenges and wins, showcases the skill and resilience of AFFW’s vintners. These wines, exemplary of their respective terroirs, continue our legacy of winemaking excellence. We are excited to share these outstanding vintages with wine enthusiasts around the globe.

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