Around the winery
with senior winemaker Peter Kelly
As the temperature warms up in the vineyard so it heats up in the winery too. In only eight weeks or so we will begin harvesting fruit from our Barossa vineyards and the anticipation is building. Right now we are getting some of our 2017 reds ready for bottling before vintage. This means more space in the barrels and tanks when grapes start arriving but more importantly, more reds for you all to enjoy. The maintenance team is in full swing as well, making sure that when the time comes our crusher, press and fermenters are ready to go.
The dry winter and spring weather that we have had is both a blessing and a curse. Generally a warm but dry growing season will give us intense flavours and colours in our reds and beautiful fragrance in our whites. On the other hand it also means we may not have as much fruit to go around, truly a ‘catch 22’ situation.
In the Vineyards
with viticulturist Steve Fiebiger
2018 has seen some extreme dry conditions, with the El Nino like season resulting in significantly lower rainfall this year, currently around 200 mm below average. This continues a run of dry seasons this last decade, with 2012-13 and 2015-16 seasons having similar rainfall. The dry conditions mean we have had to start watering earlier than normal to help compensate for the loss of natural rainfall.
One feature of dry seasons is spring and early summer frost which can be very detrimental to vines and subsequent crops. Fortunately the several frosts experienced this season were early, before the buds had fully burst, and thankfully crop loss was minimal.
Large temperature fluctuations during flowering has resulted in lower fruit set than normal with the effect across most varieties in the Barossa. This unfortunately means less fruit on the vines, but generally increases the quality of fruit produced. It will be another interesting vintage in the Barossa.