Galafrey Wines- Early start to Vintage 2013
There are very few times we start vintage before the March Long weekend. Only once before in 2007 we started vintage on the 14th Feb. I remember this because I was in Tasmania on my honeymoon when I got the phone call that they were starting vintage without me!
This year we started on Wednesday the 20th February picking the Chardonnay and Muller. The Chardonnay was damaged by hail in late Nov. This reduced the size of our crop. The tonnage of Chardonnay and Muller was lower than normal years due to dry conditions as well as hail damage.
The big difference for us this year was the new (to us) grape harvester. This reduced our picking costs and gave us greater flexibility. We can now pick individual blocks at individual times which are excellent and exciting in the winery.
February 14, 2013
For immediate release
Early start to 2013 vintage
The 2013 vintage in the Mount Barker wine region looks set to get underway in earnest next week as a result of warm weather bringing on early ripening of fruit.
According to Plantagenet Wines vineyard manager Jordan Ellis, they were about 10 days ahead of schedule as a result of warmer than usual temperatures experienced in December 2012, and again in recent weeks.
Predictions are too that vintage will be one of the quickest with little rest between picking white and red varieties.
Mt Barker Wine Producers Association president and Galafrey chief executive officer Kim Tyrer said across the district the vines were looking good.
"I guess we all won't know until it is in the tank but so far so good. I would suggest we are in for a great vintage," Ms Tyrer said.
Summer rains in December caused some concerns for vineyards however our dry grown vineyard thrived with the moisture. The vine growth has been amazing compared with previous dry years. Many other vineyards struggled to remain disease free. While it caused extra work for us, we were able to maintain canopy management and keep the vineyard disease free. The vineyard is looking great, well done Nigel. It also creates an increase of pests with a small amount of Apple Moth damage which we previously haven't encountered before.
Marri blossom started early and there was little pressure from birds in the vineyard which was fantastic. We started to look like we would pick at the end of the March long weekend which is normal timing for us. All the Chardonnay, Muller Thurgau and Riesling were ready to be picked on the 10 March, so we had one long night harvesting. Poor Nigel went from 6am till 6am the next day. All the hard work prevailed with the Riesling, our star wine, needing no adjustments in tank. A prefect wine from grape to tank. The Riesling came in at 11.5 Baume.
Then we waited for two weeks until most of our reds the Shiraz, Cabernet Franc and Merlot would be ready to pick. We picked the Shiraz and Merlot on the 4th April. The Shiraz coming in at just under 14 Baume and the Merlot at 13.3 Baume
Then a few more weeks for the Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet was picked on the 13 April at 13.8 Baume.. A beautiful strong blue colour for the Cabernet Sauvignon and I am excited with the prospect of now adding new oak to this Great Cab Sauv! I have high expectations that it will be a winner!!
This year we have had a lot of issue with kangaroos. The neighbouring blue gum plantation providing a prefect home and climate providing prefect breeding conditions. We'd have up to 40 roos at night in the vineyard. I was concerned that our profits were being eaten up!
However most of our crop estimates come in above expectation in the main varieties Riesling, and Shiraz however low for the Chardonnay and Merlot. The low tonnages for Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were no doubt due to poor flowering during November and the late summer rains.
While we had small difficulties at times I expect the 2012 to be a stellar year with extra points to Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Kim Tyrer- CEO
2011 Vintage Report
Because of the very dry year Vintage started early, thankfully we got 30mm in December otherwise we'd be carting water to the winery as our water tanks would have been empty. It's been such a weird year with all the disasters in the Eastern States- floods and bush fires, all WA vineyard stocks of sulphur, copper and fungicides were shipped over east, so in the west we were left short. With January having small little showers followed by humid weather the diseases began to crept in. Luckily at Galafrey our vineyard is dry grown and canopy management aids our disease control. The winds helped dry out the vines daily reducing the risk of disease. However other vineyards have lost their whole Riesling crop to botrytis. Thankfully Nigel is buddies with the guys at Elders and we managed to get our hands on the last bag of sulphur.
So the long weekend approach and so did vintage. All the whites were ready at once which is the first time for as long as I can remember. Usually we pick Chardonnay and a week or two later the Riesling and a week after that the Sauvignon Blanc. Not to mention Vintage usually starts in the second week of March! No, this year all the white grapes came off over two nights of the long weekend. With eight hours of harvesting, a little sleep then eight hours of cellar door. The Graze Mount Barker festival was also on that weekend. We had bookings all weekend, but it was great to see so many people in the area enjoying themselves but by the time Tuesday came we were all exhausted!
All the fruit tastes amazing and we are always reminded how great our Dry Grown vineyard is. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot looks fantastic. All the reds came off at the end of March. It was a battle with the birds starving as there is no blossom about. Guess the trees are finding it dry too! There are heaps of birds, bees, ants and roos as they all are starving and the grapes are pretty tasty! The volume is down this year which is to be expected from a dry grown vineyard in a very dry year. So now that the fruit is off we all starting our rain dance! Hopefully we will have a wet winter and a great start for next year.
Cheers Kim Tyrer.