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!