Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The 2009 crush has begun!

Yesterday, Monday 9th March, was our first official day of vintage. In my blog entry of Wednesday 4th March I wrote that it appeared we would be picking our Eden Valley Riesling before the Barossa Shiraz but vintage is an unpredictable thing which changes daily. I was wrong in that assumption. The baume of the riesling was not quite where we wanted it (maybe due to the really cold nights we have been having out here in the hills the past week) so the 2009 Barossa Shiraz was the first to hit the crush.

Despite the horrific heatwave five weeks ago, the shiraz grapes ended up being in great condition which is a huge relief. The fruit tastes superb and the colour is amazing. It may be our best crop of Barossa Shiraz ever. All in all, we picked 1112kg and as I write this blog entry it is in the beginning of its processing at Biscay Road Vintners (run by Pete Schell, Spinifex and Jason Schwarz, Schwarz Wine Company) in Bethany. It is a very exciting time; especially because we have such a talented winemaker as Pete taking charge of things, not to forget Jason's knowledgable input as well.

As James and I both work other jobs as well as run the business and do the majority of the vineyard work, we now find ourselves in a position where there are just not enough hours in the day. James generally tends to the red wines (all are made at Biscay Road Vintners) on a daily basis initially until most of the major work is done and as of next week I assume, I will be trying to have as much input as possible at Rocland Wines in Nuriootpa where our riesling will be processed under the watchful eye of our favourite big guy, Peter Gajewski.

The next month will no doubt be a blur of being here, there and everywhere but it is always well worth it. Let the fun begin!


Andrew Graham said...

Best of luck for this simultaneously exciting and challenging time of year!


Thanks Andrew! With every crop that comes off, it's one less worry for the year:) One down, two to go.
Cheers, Marie

Philip White said...

That's good to hear, Marie. It has been the most infuriating and weird year. Here, where I live on Yangarra, Kangarilla, the grapes that survived that shocking heatburst are in incredibly good condition, all things considered. The chardonnay came in a fornight after the heat with perfect vital statistics, (12.5; 3.4; 7.1 or thereabouts), the shiraz is coming off from tomorrow night (now the moon is over) at near perfect numbers, and the roussanne is sitting nicely on about 11 Be and looks like nothing even vaguely strange ever happened: tight, green, fit and well. Like you, we get really cool evenings (although ours comes from easterly gully winds), so even in the heatwave, the vines get a bit of a break at night. The chardonnay and viognier (both now in barrel) are stunning. Weird scenes inside the goldmine. Michael Lane, the Yangarra viti genius, has really had the place looking schmick since budburst, so it's all a great credit to him, and the place seems to be greatly relieved since they turned the petrochem regime off and began with the bio-D preps six months back. Another fascinating thing: the seventy year old dry-grown grenache bushvines which blistered on that awful day, and were written off, have revived enough to produce the odd near-perfect bunch. You could pick them, but you'd get only a couple of bunches every four or five vines. There's a representative photograph of the rest of the crop at http://drinkster.blogspot.com/2009/02/knock-us-up-quick-vintage-roundup-son.html (sorry to clog your mailbox up with digital mire). But it's very very interesting. As Peter Gago says, "every vintage for fifteen years I've had to rewrite my definition of extreme". And now the koalas are coming in. They seem to like to procreate in the gums directly above the noisiest bird scarer. Either they don't call their girlfriends birds or the female koala likes it noisy. Best wishes with the rest of it, Whitey.