Building on the success of our first Chardonnay & Rosé in 2017, winemaking in 2018 was as much about consolidating on past successes as it was to continue experimenting. In 2018, we increased the scale of our production of Rosé and Chardonnay to 1500L of each and continued along with producing 10 tonnes of Shiraz (which in a dry season yielded just under 5000L – a low yield) but creating an intense, highly tannic Shiraz wine. We’re very excited to see where these wines go.

Secretary of State, Janet, cleaning out our Chardonnay fermenter.

The new wines that we’re experimenting with this year are a Tempranillo & Grenache that we’ve crushed and pressed off in early April, but may be mixed together to create a Rioja style blend (after spending time in Europe, Matt & I are keen to recreate some Spanish varietals). We were lucky enough to source the fruit from our friend and neighbour, Stuart, and are excitedly following the progress of our new wines. There was much discussion about, and we were very close to making, a Pet Nat from the Grenache, but those plans fell short due to time constraints. It’s always good to have something in the pipeline for next year.

This year’s Shiraz was created in two large picks. The first at the start of the season, picked at 13 Bé with half going straight into the press for our Rosé and the other half into open fermenters for our Shiraz. The advantage of this is that the skins leftover from the Rosé can be added back into the Shiraz ferments for added tannin intensity and colour. The second and final pick was completed during the last week of the season, with a much higher Baumé (15+) and intense plum flavours. We fell short of the volume we expected, but that’s easily consoled when we’re expecting a vintage full of high quality wines.

Taking our bedford tipper out to dump stems and marc (skins) for our sheep.

As always, wine is made with plenty of chaos. Processing is never as quick as you predict, finding tank space seems to be an everlasting shuffle and there’s a certain level of nerves involved in getting everything ready for the storage and maintenance of maturation, but we’re finally there. An advantage of an earlier season is the wines receive a longer patch of warmer weather to go through malolactic fermentation before the chill of winter sets in. We’re now at the stage of tracking their process and deciding on how we’ll blend & mature each wine as we look to do our first racking in a month or so.

This is part 3 of our wrap-up of the 2018 Vintage, from the perspective of the winery, written by Spencer, The President Elect.
Read more from Janet, Secretary of State about the 2018 Rent-A-Row Harvest and from Brian, el Presidente about the grape harvest.

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