We picked the Chardonnayat Renzaglia Wines’ Bella Luna vineyard, O’Connell, yesterday. It’s predictable that as you work your way down the rows with someone opposite, you begin to chat and get to know new people.
We think these two already knew each other! Ken and Robyn Smith
This year we invited our “Club Renzo” members to join us for harvest and inevitably, they made some new acquaintances.
Alan Pearce and Robert Cameron.
Hugh Gould and Merylin Ballantine
Xiang Lay and Alan Kilgore
Rhonnda and Alan Pearce and their grandchildren
We like to think that our approach to harvesting grapes at Renzaglia Wines brings the community a little closer.
Then we all relaxed over our traditional Renzaglia Wines “pickers morning tea”.
And this is what we all felt like doing after our busy morning but some were luckier than others…..
Club Renzo: renzagliawines.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Renzo-Wine-Club.pdf
It’s the 13th February and it looks and feels like a beautiful, mild autumn day here at Renzaglia Wines. It probably won’t last as we hear there’s some warm weather to come, but it’s nice that we had such a beautiful day to kick off the 2016 harvest.
Mark and his crew are picking the first lot of Mt Panorama Estate Chardonnay grapes today to make another vintage of the increasingly popular Cobbers Sparkling wine, a collaboration with our wine making buddies at Vale Creek and Grass Parrot wines.
(I bet Mark tells me I got this wrong but I’ll have a go anyway!) ……If you don’t already know, sparkling wine requires grapes that are not totally ripe so that the juice has enough acidity to cope with the addition of sugar and yeast after the base wine has been made. This addition facilitates fermentation in the bottle or vats and hence creates the “bubbles” that we all love.
We have been employing the Charmat method to make our bubbles which is a lot faster than the traditional method. With Charmat the second fermentation occurs in vats rather than the bottles and the wine is then bottled under pressure to contain the bubbles.
The Chardonnay grapes ready to be pressed
Mark and the other Cobbers make the base wine at Vale Creek winery, we then transport this still wine to Peterson’s in the Hunter Valley where they have all the equipment to re-ferment in vats and bottle under pressure.
Meanwhile…………… back at the ranch in O’Connell, I’m trying to figure out what to do with all these peaches.
I dusted off mum’s old Vacola from the shed and bottled a batch of peach nectar.
The crock pot came in handy to make peach butter.
I’ll have to see if Mark is up to making his famous peach tart for dessert tonight.
At least there’ll be a bit of a break until the apples are ready! Oh, darn. I forgot about the tomatoes.
It has been a great growing season.
I also forgot to mention that we will have a stall at the Oberon Show next Saturday 20th and at the Sydney Cellar Door in Hyde Park the following weekend 26th, 27th, 28th Feb. Look for the “Wines Of Bathurst” tent. We’ll be sharing this with our cobbers, Grass Parrot and Vale Creek wines.
Come see us if you are in the area.
P.S We’ve got some good things to tell you about the Bella Luna Chardonnay which won a gold at the last NSW Wine Awards. It’s been getting some great recognition. More on that later…..
I think we just missed the major hailstorms that were around here but only just. I was watching an amazing storm come through today and one or two miscellaneous pieces of hail came plummeting to the ground, as if to remind me “it could if it wanted to”. Even though they were reasonably big, they likely did little damage.
Nevertheless, incidences like the hail and the recent fire in O’Connell remind me just how precarious the business of grape growing and wine making can be. After all, our primary industry is farming and all farmers are at the mercy of the weather to a large extent.
In truth, the weather has been kind to us in the Bathurst region so far this year. Even though rain has been quite sparse and it has been a relatively hot spring and early summer, the vines look great thanks to the fact that we had no major late spring frosts this year. It looks like the dry and hot growing season will continue as El Nino kicks into full force and I don’t think that is a bad thing for us grapegrowers. As a smart vigneron once said to me, “the best wines from cool climates are made in warm and dry vintages” and I think 2016 will be one of those warm and dry vintages.
Small berries with a high skin to pulp ratio generally means fruit with more flavour intensity and power. In seasons like this, I use my drip irrigation system to give the vines enough water to stay alive and produce fruit. So far, I have irrigated three times. Who knows what the next three of four months will bring but I am excited to find out.
When I look at all of the major things that are happening around the world including tolerance or lack of tolerance, terrorism, domestic violence, climate change just to name a few, I realise what I do is just a trivial exercise in self-indulgence and “feel good” behaviour. On the other hand, not many professions exist where a person is able to grow a product, turn it into something delicious to drink and then market and sell it on to an appreciative audience. I guess what I do definitely does not hurt anybody else and, to a certain extent, sharing a good wine with friends and family helps people to slow down and focus on some of the beauty that surrounds us
and the positives in our communities and ever changing world. So, if what I do helps people to feel good then I am doing my job.
Thanks to all of my friends, family and loyal consumers for making 2015 a fantastic year.