The 2021 vintage started way back in winter 2020 when we got good average rainfalls, for the first time in a few years. Derek was happy with how the baby vines were looking back in September when all the leaves started to uncurl.
Our hopes for a bumper vintage got a bit of a scare mid-December when we had two days of unrelenting wind, with up to 100km gusts. Lots of leaves got blown off and we were worried that we had lost lots of our tiny Shiraz bunches. The baby vines, now two years old did not appreciate the windy conditions and we had some snapped shoots.
With a cooler than expected summer, vintage 2021 was taking a long time to get started. Derek came in one morning after inspecting the vineyard with a worried face and told me he didn’t think there was as much fruit out there as he had hoped. We send bunches off to St Hallett’s lab (we sell most of our fruit to them) and the Baume (that the measurement used for the sugar levels in grapes) was slow to move up – a bit of different scenario from the last two years!
Finally, everything started to ripen and Derek started to hear of bumper crops through the Valley. When we came to pick our fruit, we got a record 30 tonne of Shiraz so all the doom and gloom was blown away.
When the harvester team from next door were emptying the gondola’s (that’s what the tipper trays that get pulled alongside the harvester are called), we were thrilled with the colour of the juice we could see pouring into the grape bins.
I even had to get my hands dirty this year as there was just so much fruit going into the winery where Derek makes our wines. I was busy crushing and raking and emptying fermenters and doing pump overs.... I have visited the massage therapist since!
Now at the end of vintage, with the 2021 Cashmere Riesling already in bottle and the Linen Fiano and all our reds resting in barrel we can blow out a sigh of relief that this year is done and now we just have to sell the delicious wine!
Update.... here are Derek's thoughts on the '21 vintage...
What can I say about the excellent 2021 vintage?
Pretty much what everyone else is saying…we have had the best crop levels in at least three years and the quality is right up there with some of the great vintages like 2010 and 2018. With excellent winter rains, near average rainfall and a full moisture profile in the soil, the vines flourished. Even though there was little rain through spring and summer the vines didn’t need watering until after Christmas. We didn’t have the usual heat waves so the vines remained happy and healthy, with regular top ups of irrigation.
Initially it appeared vintage was going to come with a bang and it was all hands on deck in the winery, but after an initial rush, things slowed and this meant we could pick and choose the best time to pick the grapes. 2021 was one of those vintages when all varieties performed well, with Riesling being outstanding again and the Fiano looking fabulous. The reds all have exceptional colour and flavour with Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro loving the mild summer.
Additionally we will be releasing a 2021 Adelaide Hills Tempranillo from the Southern end of the Adelaide Hills near Macclesfield. It is in that bright, upfront, juicy fruit style. A wine that will be a great Spring drinking red, look out for its release in around October.
Cheers Derek (aka DJ Deadly)