Saturday, March 8, 2008

Vintage in the Barossa Ranges - March 2008

Yet another heatwave - temperatures above 35 degrees celcius for a week or more - has hit us and it shows no signs of abating for a while.... It has been a very long hot summer here in South Australia. No rain has fallen for months despite many other parts of Australia - to the east, west and north of us - having good rains (even flooding in a lot of areas) and we have been incredibly lucky to even have a harvest this year I think, let alone the bumper one that we have had!

To start with, the magnificent fruit that we purchase from the Moppa area on the Barossa floor was picked on Friday 29th February. By all accounts this is going to be yet another bold and beautiful Barossa Shiraz and while I am typing this blog, my husband James is presently down the hill at Bethany helping Pete Schell (of Spinifex) pump it all over and do all the things that need to be done to start it's amazing journey from grape to barrel.

Our Eden Valley Semillon, purchased this year by Pete Schell, was hand picked last Monday 3rd March and he was very happy with it. It will be interesting to see what the magic man will create this year with the above-expected yield. Pete is an exceptionally talented fellow and a damn good bloke! We are very lucky to have him as our red wine maker this year (with assistance from my husband James) and are thrilled that he has purchased the entire lot of our semillon this year to put under the Spinifex label.

Following the picking of the semillon, the next day (Tuesday 4th March) we hand-picked the Eden Valley Riesling - a very early start on a day where the temperature was expected to reach 34 degrees celcius. After a cool night, we were so lucky to have cloud cover until about 10am so most of the grapes were picked before the heat of the day hit the vines. Perfect conditions for picking the rizza!! Mind you, our canopies (leaf cover) were yet again incredible and most of the grapes had been protected from the harsh sun due to that, unlike a lot of vines on the Valley floor which were suffering terribly. It's always an advantage to be in the high Barossa Ranges when summer is this hot and dry as that few degrees cooler temperature certainly makes a difference. Peter Gajewski of Rocland Wines is making our rizza again this year and it is sure to be yet another splendid example of a rizza from one of the best regions in the world!

So all that is left on the vines at the moment is our Eden Valley Shiraz and that will not be for much longer if this heat continues. It sure is an interesting industry and no doubt about it, there is a lot less pressure on us once the grapes are off the vines safely ... so on that note, despite being a rizza lover, tonight after a very hot day, I am heading out to the verandah and cracking a Cooper's Pale Ale! (The best Aussie beer and an awesome thirst quencher)

Until next time..............................

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