Overall 2002 is a vintage of excellent quality, especially for Australian white wines and red wines from the river regions. Early in the season the weather was wet and cool - this resulted in poor flowering and subsequently reduced yields. Whilst this means that quality is up, it also means quantity is down and so some wines may be in short supply - especially quality Chardonnays. A cool summer turned into an idyllic warm, sunny autumn with cool nights. The grapes ripened perfectly and retained more acidity than usual and consequently the wines are beautifully balanced with good intensity of flavour.
In such a vast country it is hard to generalise and some areas did better than others. Reds, especially Cabernet Sauvignons, are outstanding from the premium areas of Western Australia's Margaret River, South Australia's and Clare and Barossa Valleys and MacLaren Vale and finally South Eastern Australia's Yarra Valley and Central and North East Victoria. However it was the white varieties, particularly Semillon, which fared better than the reds in the Hunter Valley. But for Merlot this was a disappointing year - in most areas this variety was hard to get right and only the better producers managed it correctly.