A dry winter, followed by a windy spring presented some challenges for the growing season, and made irrigation management the key to getting through the hot and very dry summer that came next. Careful irrigation through spring and summer was required to allow the vines to stay healthy and carry the fruit through to harvest. Temperatures in January peaked at over 46 degrees on 24th January and there were further days over 38 degrees through February. Vintage timing was about the same as for 2018, although slightly more condensed, which was offset by crop levels being lower than average.
We started vintage in the last week of February, taking in some Viognier and Marsanne for our Dona Blanc blend, along with a couple of small parcels of Tempranillo. A few days later this was followed by a few blocks of Shiraz from Seaview, as well as Grenache from our vineyard for the Epoch Rose. The next week saw a lot of activity as we picked more Shiraz from the Eastern part of the Vale, Grenache & Shiraz from our vineyard in Blewitt Springs for our co-fermented Nova Duo, along with a small parcel of dry grown Shiraz from Clarendon. The second week of March saw us take in the Old Shiraz from our Kays Rd block, another lot of Shiraz from Blewitt Springs, a little Graciano, finishing with the balance of our Old Grenache from Kays Rd. After a deep breath or two, we were able to gently get these lots through ferment and into barrel, while we had a two week break before our last lots came in. Our Mataro snuck into the end of March, and we also took the opportunity to get our hands on a very small parcel of Nero d’Avola which will be a special release down the track. Overall, a fairly condensed vintage, with the majority coming in over a 3 week period, but lower crops across the region and less pressure in the winery meant we were still able to allow the ferments to take their time before pressing.
Vibrant colours, rich flavours, chewy tannins and dark berry fruit shining through are the features of the vintage so far, with most batches maintaining great natural acidity, which is a testament to the skills of our growers in a challenging year for growing grapes. A lot to look forward to for our 2019 wines, and plenty to play with in the winery with 21 separate batches and six different varieties in barrel, as well as our 2019 Dona Blanc (Marsanne/Viognier) already in bottle.