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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Bunch Thinning, Bird Netting and Verjus

27 January 2015

It’s the end of January and raining as I write this…what else does one do on a gloomy and wet day?

  Two of the big jobs to ensure quality in cool climate vineyards are bunch thinning (ouch) and bird netting (yuck!!!).

I bunch thin at veraison (beginning of berry ripening) not because Sandy wants some green grapes to make verjus,

but because I want to eliminate all of the less ripe berries to maximise the quality (physiological ripeness) of the remaining grapes.

 In cool climates like Bathurst, this process of bunch thinning is imperative in most years to ensure the remaining grapes reach full maturity.

 This is one example of the attention to detail required in cool climates to achieve the best wines possible.


Bunches dropped to the ground


Unfortunately, bird netting is also required especially in isolated, small vineyards like ours at O’Connell.

 I think it is the most despised job in grape growing and my friends tend to stay away from me at bird netting time for fear they may be asked to help….

I don’t blame them!!!!!

photo 3 (1)

Our “Bella Luna” vineyard, O’Connell


Second year of verjus

So I plonked on the kitchen bench two boxes of beautifully formed but unripe chardonnay grapes from bunch thinning at

Mt Panorama Estate. Sandy’s eyebrow raised. “Ready for another batch of verjus”? She sighed and I went on with my jobs around the place.

I was surprised to find twelve bottles of verjus when I got home the next day. She doesn’t muck around!

Sandy and her friend Katrina had previously rigged up an engineering masterpiece with a garden shredder and a

car jack to make apple juice from an over supply of apples.

With a little adjustment for green grapes (kitchen wizz instead of garden shredder) we figured out last year we could make verjus by a fairly similar method.







Watch out Maggie Beer!

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