I had a window of a couple of weeks to get the pruning done at our O’Connell vineyard before cramming in two whirlwind days of bottling before heading out to Illinois for two weeks to work at Alto Vineyards, the USA Renzaglia family winery. The pneumatic pruners cut through each cordon like it’s a stick of butter. They’ll even cut through the wires if I’m not careful. Pruning was also sped up by the lack of previous years growth due to late frosts in 2014.
Everything is looking good. Fingers are crossed right now to see how we go with the timing of bud burst and erratic frost events. It’s always a nerve wracking time of year.
And then the bottling…….
We are a little dazed after bottling the 2015 whites and 2014 reds. Apart from being extremely excited about the quality of these vintages, there is now a lot of wine for us to sell. We had better get serious (well that’s what Sandy’s been saying). I am finally now able to hold back some of my wines to let them mature for a decent spell before releasing them. Previously, we have sold out a vintage and have been forced to release the next before I would really prefer to. It’s all part of slowly building up our little business!
Sauvignon Blanc is back!
We are happy to say that we once again have a Sauvignon Blanc in the bottle and poured it for the first time yesterday at the Tremains Mill Community Open Day. Very happy with it! If you haven’t heard about the Tremains Mill, there are great plans for the new owner to open his newly acquired group of buildings at the bottom of Keppel Street to the community as part of an exciting historical/cultural precinct. Stay tuned!
Oh Yeah, also should say we were just awarded two silver medals at the NSW Small Winemakers Wine Show. The wines are the 2014 Mt Panorama Estate Chardonnay from Gary and Susan Baxter’s grapes and 2013 Bella Luna Chardonnay from our O’Connell vineyard.
It’s always a great relief to have our bottling completed. Feels fantastic actually!
We now have an extra 1400 cases = 16,800 bottles of what we feel are excellent wines.
The 2013 reds spent over 12 months in oak. We are excited about the first ever reserve Mount Panorama Shiraz (bottled about 80 cases) as well as our first and last Tempranillo wine. All up we bottled about 800 cases of reds ….most will be released sometime in early 2015.
The rest of the wines bottled were from the 2014 harvest and included three whites (Semillon/Chardonnay, Dog’s Day Chardonnay and Mount Panorama Estate Chardonnay) as well as the 2014 A Little Flushed Rose. These wines came from grapes picked in February and March this year…..we bottled about 600 cases.
To me, the most exciting of these wines are the 2014 Mount Panorama Estate Chardonnay and the 2014 A Little Flushed Rose.
Aside from harvest, the two weeks leading up to bottling and the bottling itself are the most stressful and exhausting period for winemakers. Even though we still have the clean up of tanks and winery to go, it is a great relief to see the finished products safely in their bottles and ready for sale. Oh yeah, now I have to sell it all……………….
And what a roller coaster ride it has been. First, the late frosts in spring wiped out our potential crop in O’Connell. Then, the unrelenting heat followed with the months of December, January and the first part of February hardly ever getting below a high of 30 degrees. Lastly, the wet humid conditions came in to finish the season.
In my opinion, the effect of this ‘ride’ on the vintage at the Mt Panorama Estates vineyard has been surprisingly positive. The hot and dry conditions in the middle of summer helped to keep the berry size small and fruit flavours intense. We harvested the whites at Mount Panorama Estate in the middle of February, before most of the rain came. The Shiraz was harvested about three weeks later and the Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested on 14 April. What a spread to the vintage! In the end, I have about 15 tonnes of good to exceptional fruit. I am very excited about the Shiraz….great colour and flavours.
Now, as I always say, the rest of up to the winemaking to bring out the positive flavours and characteristics of the vintage.