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Customer delight, winemaker fright! …..would be the tag line for V21
After 2 years of lower volumes and drier years. This year was a reminder of what vintage is always like, fast pace as you battle the weather.
Did you love the 2013 reds? Intense in flavour. Well, that is 2021. Big wines, big flavours and not that easy to juggle in the winery.
The biggest difference this vintage was the rainfall in Nov, Dec, Jan and Feb with 121ml of rain. A wet February saw 51 ml fall for the month to start us of for vintage. January max temp was 39.5 degrees, February was 36.2, March was 37 degrees. With lots of beastly eastly drying winds in the first few weeks of the January.
V21 started on 3rd March which is normal. We usually start the first weekend of March. First to come off was our Muller Thurgau. It came in as a nice soft start to vintage. At the same time, we had various thunderstorms and freak rain pass through the first half of vintage.
9th March Chardonnay and some early ripening pinot which is known as 'droopy' clone was picked.
10th March saw more severe weather warnings for the Great Southern with thunderstorms and lots of rain. March rainfall average was 16.8ml for the month and most of that seem to fall between 3-10th March. It was also the day the High school handpicked their Chardonnay which we took in. Thankfully, the rain held off for the first half of the day.
13th March with much excitement and anticipation as we picked our Riesling crop. It looked excellent despite the rain beforehand. Naturally balanced in the vineyard and lots of flavour.
18th March was The Taste Great Southern Festival with Women in Wine Dinner where I was invited to be a guest speaker.On the 21st was our annual long table lunch which was hot at 36 degrees. We had 82 people on our verandahs with chef Aaron Carr from Yarri Restaurant do the food which was awesome!!! Both excellent events and it is about here I start to get tired.
24th March we hand picked the rest of our pinot known as 'upright' clone and some Riesling came in from a neighbouring vineyard.
26th March we start to hand pick our whole bunch shiraz and mechanical harvest the rest of shiraz at the same time. A big day. The Cabernet Franc came in at the same time and looked excellent. Flavour bomb!!
27th March was the Taste Great Southern Wine Festival. Another big day and event, again the tiredness begins to set in.
April 1st and the last of the reds came off. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The rain set in and the early start of 5am is pushed back to noon. It is also the day before Good Friday with Easter and a busy cellar door ahead of us. Interestingly, we finished vintage the same time in 2013.
So why the comparison to 2013. The fruit starts to shrivel on the vines, high alc, high sugars, highly concentrated. Flavour bombs but tricky to handle in the winery. The hot days and rain but drying winds all a factor. In April we had 119mls of rain. The year-to-date rain fall 228ml, most of the rainfall was end of Feb and April.
4th April we began to press half the reds. Another big day straight after Easter. Here the long days and late nights really begin. Ironically, this time last year 2020 was when we all went into lockdown and the covid pandemic began. It was hard to imagine.
8th April saw WA stared down 3 cyclones heading to the coast near Geraldton, a freak weather event. The temperate changed and we started to see daily max temps of 12 degrees…brrr. More late nights and long days before our final press on 14th April. Another massive day. With a long hours and late nights ahead we finally finished on 17th April. By the time it was 20th April we were well and truly into autumn.
The leaves of vineyard had turned and start to shed. When I look back on it all no wonder, I found it a hard vintage. It was relentless pace.
The stand outs are the Riesling, Chardonnay, Cab Franc, Merlot and whole bunch shiraz. Lots of excellent flavour and all naturally balanced in the vineyard. With a nice purchase of new oak and our usual hard work ethics we will again produce some great exciting wines. Including a new Sparkling Riesling!
Big shout out to our Team, especially Nigel who on top of all this did extra night picks for other vineyards.
This is why we are busy little winemakers.
CEO & Winemaker
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