Hello everyone, I finally can put pen to paper, figuratively at least, after a considerable lapse. The 2015 vintage has come and gone and is proving to be a very interesting one. The lead up to it was pretty well perfect: dry, warm and long. Autumn seemed to be endless.
We picked late and have big wines as a result. Big pinot and big cabernet in particular. Geof and Jonathan continue to be the A team and spent endless evenings in the winery nursing their "babies" along.
Vintage is the time for the long lunch under the trees with family and friends.
We are in our 4th year of biodynamics transition and the vines remain healthy and are producing fruit with good and complex flavours.We are enjoying the process as well: less spraying, and the pleasure of the biodiversity that this system brings with it. The sheep have spent all winter in the vines and are fabulous lawnmowers. The horses joined them in the pinot and chardonnay for some months until they decided to begin the pre-pruning process early for us, necessitating their immediate removal!
Winter has been cold and relatively dry until a few weeks ago. Recent rain, and particularly the continuing drizzle, has the creek flowing briskly and the ground very wet under foot. No vehicles in the vines except for the quad bike. The Yarra Valley has most of its rain in spring so we are hopeful of enough in the next few months to fill the dams which are still lower th we would like.
Frosts have been numerous this year which doesn't matter to those things that are dormant but presents a bit of a challenge to those less resilient. The lemon scented gums, native to Queensland, are quite sensitive but seem to be able to make a good comeback, given time.
Jonathan has been busy with a new project, playing builder. Guided by cousin Tom and aided from time to time by Ed (son), he has created a barrel room in which we can keep barrels of wine warm enough so they can complete their fermentations. With night time temperatures well below the desired temperature of 12c, a smaller space that can be heated above ambient temperature is essential.
We have also built a new machinery shed, freeing up space in the winery area and, due to the quirky construction using shipping containers, providing a much needed storage space for the children's stuff that still doesn't seem to have a home!
I have been very busy planting trees and shrubs again this winter, starting as soon as the autumn break arrived. I have added to the plantings within the vineyard, aimed at attracting beneficial insects and small birds. The hedgerows have also been plumped out and we have created a small terrace on the contour in the front paddock, in order to have more protection from the wind and further wildlife habitat. I adore wattles so they feature a lot in all of the plantings. They are quick growing, beautiful and are nitrogen fixers so are great for the soil and other plants as companions.
Jonathan has been busy locally attending wine shows and wine events: dinners etc. Our recent review from James Halliday, giving 96 points to the 2012 Le Batard pinot blend and 95 for the 2011 chardonnay, has been very pleasing. We have had to add delivery boy to Jonathan's list of accomplishments!
Now we are seeing the first signs of spring. Daffodils under the trees and the first cherry blossom add a heady scent to the still cold air.
We are off to warmer climes in the northern hemisphere over the next months, exploring Burgundy and the Languedoc regions of France and, of course, doing plenty of research into wine making: for work reasons of course!!
So then, best wishes to you all