Vintage Report 2023: Porongurup, Great Southern, WA

Vineyards that were well prepared for the 2023 vintage delivered high quality grapes with no disease and exceptional flavours.

Winter 2022 was on the dry side, however rainfall was not excessively low, nor was the weather excessively warm. That changed significantly with spring when the region received well above average rainfall and several extreme cold spells.

“This weather, while providing perfect soil moisture reserves, impacted flowering and, as a result, yields were down approximately 40% on average. It also slowed vine growth, indicating that it would be a later harvest than normal,” says Castle Rock Estate Winegrower Rob Diletti.

“As we welcomed the new year, it dried up (we only had 5mm for the first two months of 2023) although it was not excessively hot. The prevailing easterly was in full swing, the cooling breeze off the Bight brought consternation from the Albany locals, however it kept our vines cool and happy. The low rainfall meant the soil dried out quickly and we had to irrigate regularly to maintain healthy vines.”

Harvest began at Castle Rock in mid-March with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling picked over a two-week period. The modest fruit set meant there was a wide range of ripeness, even within the same block, making harvest decisions particularly difficult. 

The rain, never far away in the Porongurups, did start sporadically in March, adding to the challenge. The vineyard was prepared judiciously and ensured that very high-quality grapes were delivered to the winery with no disease and exceptional flavours.

“Pinot Noir is particularly promising. With the high-quality fruit we were able to perform a wide range of winemaking techniques, providing plenty of diverse blending options.

“Riesling, as always, is displaying great flavours, excellent natural acidity providing length, structure, and extended cellaring potential. Our last Riesling harvest was on the 4th April and the heavens opened on the 5th. Good management combined with good luck ensured we had beaten the rain and extracted everything the season had to offer.

“After two weeks of cool damp weather, there was a week of sunshine and warmth starting on the 16th April. Our shiraz and cabernet vineyards, which had been well prepared and maintained during the growing season, made it through the wet weather unscathed. These later ripening reds have beautiful floral intensity, albeit slightly lower alcohols.

“While volumes may be down, we are excited about the quality of the 2023 vintage and looking forward to releasing these wines.’

For further information and images please contact:

David Cumming at Define Wine Marketing & Communications on 0414 736 342 or

Rob Diletti, Winemaker at Castle Rock on 0447 531 035 or

Castle Rock Estate is nestled on the eastern slopes of the Porongurup Mountain and is named after a prominent nearby granite landmark. The vineyard, which sits in Great Southern’s sub region Porongurup, has a cool and elevated northerly aspect, resulting in intensely flavoured wines, particularly Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The vineyard was established in 1983 by Angelo and Wendy Diletti and is now run by their son Rob. Their 200-tonne winery was constructed in 2000 and in 2015 Rob Diletti was named Wine Companion Winemaker of the Year. Rob was a finalist in the 2019 Gourmet Traveller WINE Magazine Winemaker of the Year awards and a finalist in the 2022 Wine Companion ‘Best Value Winery’ Awards.

Photo: Castle Rock Estate, Frances Andrijich