April 2012 Archives

Vintage finito!

Sometimes - and particularly at vintage - I think we take family for granted. I know I do. So I want to start by saying how much I appreciate everyone's support and help this vintage.

Thumbnail image for door_vintage.jpgThanks Mum, Uncle Ray, Pete and Lou, Mike, Auntie Lee, Tetka Beka, Milic and my cousins Chels, Bec, Miki, Rada and Carli. Also Owen, Alexi and Brad who leant a hand in the Week of Chaos. Oh and my little nephews, James and Isaac, who helped me pluck some malbec and even operate the basket press. Plus of course Oban and Zoe who make sure none of us take ourselves too seriously and take time out to play.

Right. The wines. Well, as always, during vintage I am so intimately involved with the wines that I tend to lose perspective. Having had a break and now come back to them, I think they are pretty smart! Many batches are elegant and perfumed. My favourite, yet again, is the malbec from our vines planted in 1974. Pure, jet black, with attitude but charm.

We had some firsts this year. First wine made off the 4 year old shiraz planted from buds taken from a spectacular little plot of old shiraz at Cape Mentelle. First grapes off the grafted malbec which we hand-plucked so there is not one bit of green stalk. Surprisingly, both wines look like complete wines in themselves already, with the malbec just about finished its malo, naturally started as was its primary fermentation. In fact most of my ferments this year were completed naturally, without any yeasts added. I can't believe it's taken me 4 vintages to finally pluck up enough courage to commit to au naturel winemaking. I am a convert. Perhaps it's in my mind, but to me the wines look purer and feel more honest.

The longer I am in this game, the more I find myself unlearning all the rules that I have been taught at university. And taking courage from my experiences in France making wine - think long post ferment maceration and judicious use of lees. We need to stop being so scared of things we can't see (like yeast and bacteria) or control.

press_vintage.jpgI think we need to make wines more personable and less rigid, with more emphasis on wines being a pleasure to drink! Who wants to drink a heavily oaked, acid dominant red which conforms with science but is hard work to drink? Don't believe writers, judges and winemakers who tell you what you should like - your choice is valid, it is not a medicine you are drinking, it is a pleasure in which you are indulging!

As a small producer we have the opportunity to break into new territory as we aren't accountable to head honchos. We live the wines in every sense and because there is such a personal and immediate relationship it means any problems that might develop from 'risky' winemaking (ie natural winemaking) can be nipped early.


I love being a small producer. I have endless ideas and plans which I can't wait to put into action. More's the pity vintage only comes once a year. Your support in purchasing our wines lets me indulge this passion. Thank you.