Hello to everyone once again.
Vintage is over for another year and some may say 'thank goodness for that!'.A blisteringly hot summer followed by a prolonged dry period and then a drawn out autumn. The grapes ripened early and then didn't seem to be able to hang in there to slowly complete the process and fully develop flavours. The acid levels began to fall in March so we decided to pick relatively early with the flavours fresh but the sugars lower and thus lower alcohol levels in the resulting wines.
Yields were well down throughout the Valley: probably by 50% for us: many growers were looking at even lower yields, if they picked at all.
Bird damage is a perennial problem, though our main problem is home grown in that our geese have a real taste for ripe grapes and have a cheeky knack of getting under the nets.
The picking days are long with pre-dawn starts and post-dinner finishes. Geof is indispensable at the best of times but particularly at vintage and we are also very pleased to now have Michael, our new assistant in the vineyard and winery, to lend a hand.
The Pinot was very low in tonnage as we had picked much of it at veraison so we could make enough Verjus for the year.
The shiraz coped well with the heat and cropped at about one tonne per acre. The Cabernet was much the same and, running true to form, produced some good fruit.
Jonathan has been kept busy with initial fermentations and then the malolactic fermentations as required.
It is nice to finally have everything bedded down for the winter and then be able to get on with the other jobs that are always lurking in the wings, needing attention.
Autumn is the time for clearing up the vineyard and we are hopeful that our lambs will help in that: they are getting bigger all the time.
Jonathan and Michael have been very busy tidying the winery and reorganising the spaces to better accommodate the new equipment that continues to arrive!
Autumn is also the time for putting out the special biodynamic sprays that help the development of the soil and encourage better plant growth. We have our own stirring equipment now and have adapted the ATV so we can use it to spray the whole place, garden and vegetables included.
The long autumn continues and we still have uncommonly warm weather. It will be interesting to see what effects these have on the vines in the coming growing season.
ciao for now