We had a great start to the year with bud burst about a week late in early September. We got through flowering, capfall and fruitset without any pestilence, toads or hail, so everything was set up well for the year.
November was unnaturally hot – some days reached over 45 degrees – so keeping the water up to the growing vines, and poviding sun protection were our two priorities. December was typical, but then came January 2015. Rain – and lots of it. 221mls of it during the month, when the fruit is ripening and without any spray protection. By the 4th week of January we hadn’t picked any grapes, so I was getting worried. Finally we picked our Chardonnay vineyard on 31/1/15 and were rewarded by all the hard work put into this vineyard with some really nice fruit for the winery. Pressed off, we harvested 10.4T at 12.1 baume but with excellent acid and ripeness. As the style of Chardonnay evolves, we are looking for less intensity in chardonnay fruit, more subtle and less oaked flavours, with a nice line of acid to support the wine. I think this wine will be a beauty! It is now on lees in French oak 550L and 230L barrels.
Alas, we decided to drop the Semillon fruit this year as it wasn’t up to my quality specifications – a little bit of rot, some botrytis and generally too watery due to the prolonged rainfall.
We hand picked 5.7T of Shiraz on 13/2/2015 – a very expensive nedeavour this year, with picking costs comin in at around $1000 per tonne! I made 1000L of Saignee Rose (bled of the red in the fermenter after 20 odd hours) and Jeff liked the shiraz – our vineyard produced some of the ripest fruit at 13.3 baume that the winery handled this year. We will just have to see what the wine develops like, but after last year’s blockbuster vintage I have sufficient Shiraz in hand to let Jeff use this year’s vintage. We’ll see in six months how it has developed in the barrels.