Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Breakfast at Rocland

After a hard day's picking, in the early hours of Monday morning James had a 4.30am start and I was not too far behind at 6.30 am. The grapes were on the trailer and Steve at Rocland Winery was awaiting our two loads to be checked in at the weighbridge. On the way I did an emergency stop at the best place for breakfast in the Barossa - Blonde Coffee - and picked up a toasted cheese, bacon, egg and tomato sandwich and two lattes to go - good sustenance for a morning crush of our riesling. Despite the chill still in the air from a very cold night, it was a very exciting morning to be standing at the weighbridge munching on our breakfast as we received our cartnotes from Steve. After the worry of the possibility of it being a non-vintage (heatwave) we had managed to pick our largest ever Eden Valley Riesling crop - 2.75 tonnes.

I worked at Rocland last vintage as a laboratory assistant and the first thing I noticed this year was that it was much more relaxed. The late and long heatwave of 2008 caused much drama and panic with last year's processing throughout the industry and it was really different to walk into the winery and see the boys (and girls) looking refreshed and happy. Only someone who has worked an eight to ten week stint of twelve hours a day under the incredible pressure of a horror (weather-wise) vintage will understand what I mean.

By the time I had popped around the place to say my hellos to past workmates, James had the bins waiting by the press and Aaron was on the forklift and ready to start unloading them. Juicy (Peter Gajewski) was out and about heading in our general direction and before too long, the bunches were being pressed and the wine glass was out so that we could taste the fruits of our labour for 2009. Delicious! Apples.. that was the most significant thing we could all taste.

By 10am it was all over and James and I went back to our respective jobs for the rest of the day quite happy knowing that the juice was pressed and already in a tank. It really is a terrific feeling to watch your grapes start the process of becoming wine. I can't wait to follow its progress and see how it turns out.

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