There has been great resilience shown this year by vineyard and vigneron as we look back and consider the season that was 2018/2019.
The vineyard and earths surface has never looked this dry, yet the performance of the vines this vintage was remarkable. We learn so much about our soils and vines health each vintage. To still see an abundance of foliage on the vine at this stage of the year, exhibits to the vignerons that the continual aeration, moisture penetration and general biological approach to viticulture is working in our unique and harsh Australian site.
With little to no rain during the Spring months, the vineyards were very reliant on the (lower than average) sub soil moisture from lower Winter rainfall. Moving through the months of November and December, it was apparent that we were in for lower than average yields, and as we started to irrigate some vineyards in mid December, we were very conscious not to give the vines false hope, leading to unsustainable canopy and fruit load on the vines. When irrigating the vineyards in years like this, we find it is best to only help maintain the natural progression of the vines, regardless of the potential yields that further irrigation can bring.
After an extremely warm month of January, we thought that the season had moderated until the forecast showed one final sizzling for the summer.
With this forecast of weather due during the last week of February, we decided to pick our GC Chardonnay and RP Pinot Pinot before the heat arrived on the 26th Feb.
The sugar levels rose substantially during the first two days of the heat wave, and therefore it was now ‘game on’ to harvest all the younger and weaker vineyards. 35 head lamps were purchased, and night harvesting commenced. The surreal calmness in the vineyard was quite breathtaking, as you could see light and hear voices without faces. Harvest lunches became sunrise breakfast, thanks to chief cook Ben Knight and his trusty side kick Olivia.
The remainder of the fruit such as Farrside, Irrewarra and Shiraz was finally brought in to the winery by the 10th April. A drawn out year that may promise so much as all the fruit was picked with reasonable acidity, fine tannins and elegant flavour.