Deciding when to pick the grapes is probably one of the most important decisions when it comes to winemaking. Picking too early and the wines will be green. Picking too late and the wines could be flabby and diseased, so timing is of the essence! For the second year in a row, Australia has experience a La Nina weather pattern – this is the cooler counterpart of El Nino and means increased rainfall for much of Australia. We all know how wet the summer has been and how intense the rainfall has been, particularly along the East coast of Australia where towns have experienced serious floods and natural disasters.
For winemaking, rainfall at the wrong time, particularly at the end of the season when we’re looking to harvest presents some challenges; will the grapes rot on the vine? Will we be able to get grape pickers to go into the muddy soil? Will machine harvesters get bogged? Harvest timing is even more critical during La Nina than it is during El Nino, due to cooler than normal summer (the grape growing season) as our harvest window across most regions shifts out up to two weeks.
For Vintage 2022, we started picking mid-January, with white wines the first priority. By the 6th of February, we had picked all our white wines in the Hunter Valley, whilst southern regions were only just starting at this point. The whites to watch this year? Definitely Chardonnay, Vermentino and fresh Pinot Grigio. Our red grapes were all picked by mid-February – a last dash to the finish line, due to a lot of rain forecasted, we needed to get out there and get it done before that hit.
Fast forward to now, and the winery smells divine, with all the grapes picked and starting to go through the winemaking process. There are fragrant fermentations with subtle hints of toasty oak the closer you get to the barrel room, and so far everything is doing what it should.
The cooler summer has allowed long, slow ripening of flavours and tannins in the region's reds and this gives cause for much excitement in the Hunter Valley, especially with people actually visiting the region's cellar doors now that restrictions have been eased – the buzz in the valley is something we’ve definitely missed.
2022 has had its challenges but rest assured when our 2022 vintage wines hit your glasses over the next few months, you will not be disappointed.
Shop some of our best 2021 vintages, before we roll to 2022.