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Pre Vintage Thoughts....

February 12th, 2014 by

I’ve finished cleaning the crusher and presses and some Sauvignon Blanc is on its way….I guess my 25th Vintage is about to start and my wife is about to become a ‘ Vintage Widow’-again! The grape harvest or what Australian winemakers call Vintage is an exciting time but it is all encompassing- life pretty much revolves around making wine, drinking wine and sleeping, with sleep being the lowest priority. Everything else needs to wait until after Vintage is complete and this is where the term ‘Vintage Widow’ comes from as our families are largely left to fend for themselves. It’s not uncommon for the family to be in bed asleep when I sneak off to work and then be back in bed by the time I arrive home. At the winery it’s 80-100 hours a week, 7 days a week and lasts for about 10 weeks……I remember one 10 day period where we started each day at 6am and finished between midnight and 2am. While this sounds horrendous, to a winemaker it is actually quite a buzz. What drives you is making the best possible wine, one that you love to drink yourself, one that you hope will impress your winemaker friends and to a lesser extent the Wine Critics. Of course we also hope it is a wine that our customers will love but to be honest I’ve always found that if I love the wine myself then it generally appeals to those who support our label. I guess this is because a winemaker needs to be their own worst critic if they are to constantly improve on what they are doing. I think wine drinkers are much more forgiving than I am, thus a winemaker will never leave work until everything that needs to be done is actually done…

Whilst a winemaker’s passion and commitment are a constant the variable we most worry about is the weather which is the one thing we can’t control in this process. Bad weather equates to substandard fruit and that means substandard wine, and under these circumstances the winemaker’s buzz turns into despair. Fortunately this year we have enjoyed a brilliant wet Winter and Spring followed by a relatively cool early Summer and this bodes well for quality…. I can feel myself getting excited about the wines 2014 will produce.