Because of the very dry year Vintage started early, thankfully we got 30mm in December otherwise we'd be carting water to the winery as our water tanks would have been empty. It's been such a weird year with all the disasters in the Eastern States- floods and bush fires, all WA vineyard stocks of sulphur, copper and fungicides were shipped over east, so in the west we were left short. With January having small little showers followed by humid weather the diseases began to crept in. Luckily at Galafrey our vineyard is dry grown and canopy management aids our disease control. The winds helped dry out the vines daily reducing the risk of disease. However other vineyards have lost their whole Riesling crop to botrytis. Thankfully Nigel is buddies with the guys at Elders and we managed to get our hands on the last bag of sulphur.
So the long weekend approach and so did vintage. All the whites were ready at once which is the first time for as long as I can remember. Usually we pick Chardonnay and a week or two later the Riesling and a week after that the Sauvignon Blanc. Not to mention Vintage usually starts in the second week of March! No, this year all the white grapes came off over two nights of the long weekend. With eight hours of harvesting, a little sleep then eight hours of cellar door. The Graze Mount Barker festival was also on that weekend. We had bookings all weekend, but it was great to see so many people in the area enjoying themselves but by the time Tuesday came we were all exhausted!
All the fruit tastes amazing and we are always reminded how great our Dry Grown vineyard is. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot looks fantastic. All the reds came off at the end of March. It was a battle with the birds starving as there is no blossom about. Guess the trees are finding it dry too! There are heaps of birds, bees, ants and roos as they all are starving and the grapes are pretty tasty! The volume is down this year which is to be expected from a dry grown vineyard in a very dry year. So now that the fruit is off we all starting our rain dance! Hopefully we will have a wet winter and a great start for next year.
Cheers Kim Tyrer.