March...ing into Spring!
Fiona Shiner, Founder
The long three month pruning season is now coming to an end and after 80,000 vines, 2,666 hours and nearly a million cuts later, the vineyard is looking all trimmed and ready for the 2021 season. Mulching the prunings with the flail mower and more trellis repairs and installation are next on the vineyard team's task list. Plus we will be replacing a small number of some lower yielding clones and root stocks towards the end of April.
HOT OFF THE PRESS - our new frost alert system is in place!......and whilst we hope this will be a frost free year, it is good to know that we will not have to do the graveyard shift - ie physically being at the vineyard in the early hours of the morning to monitor the temperature as it drops to below zero. The system will send us an alert on our phones when the time is right to think about lighting the bougies. Of course we will be testing the system over the next few weeks whenever colder temperatures are forecast. The system will also monitor the temperature at our different sites throughout the season which will help calculate our growing degree days - more on this in our next newsletter.
Preparing for a summer of Fizz
Jeremy Mount, Winemaker
The operations in the winery over this last month have been for both still wines and sparkling. We have been finalising the blends for the Bacchus, Orpheus and Culver Hill wines and I can confirm that the quality of the Bacchus from last year’s harvest is very good.
A lot of the time recently has been preparing the sparkling wines for an expected very busy summer (fingers firmly crossed). This involves a lot of disgorging which is removing the yeast that’s been aging in the bottle, and labelling with help from the vineyard team during the cold, wet and windy days we’ve recently had (a welcome break from pruning!). The sparkling wines need at least 3 months of aging after disgorging, giving the wine time to settle down and homogenise with the dosage (small amount of added concentrated flavourless grape sugar) which is added to bring balance to the wine and enhance the flavour profile. Next up is the sparkling base wine trials, followed by the tank blends and extensive preparations needed for bottling both the sparkling and still wines in May.