Our guest blogger today is winemaker KG.
Where has the year gone? It seems just like yesterday we were sweltering in the February heatwave with vintage right upon us. Hang on, the last two weeks have seen us sweltering through the record November heatwave … yesterday’s max was 41°C. What is going on with our weather? And today it’s raining … go figure.
In this hot weather spare a thought for the guys at the Yalumba cooperage. At this time of the year, Andrew, Craig and Shaun (aka Broady, Horse and Snips) are well into the production of barrels for the new vintage, 2010. This year is a little different, however. The cooperage is a man down, as Kym left us late last year and recently Broady’s “done” his back in, so he’s really only helping out at morning tea and lunch-time making up the third hand at cards.
So Craig and Shaun have been hard at it as the deadline is to have the French and Hungarian barrels ready by the end of January.
For vintage 2010, our little cooperage will assemble about 250 French barriques (225 litre), 30 Hungarian hogsheads (300 litre), 120 American hogsheads (300 litre) and 160 American octaves (100 litre). These barrels will be used across both the white and red winemaker portfolios.
We do things a little differently at the cooperage these days, all based on this pursuit of quality. We order our French and Hungarian staves from three suppliers in France. These staves are then seasoned in France, in conditions that are more conducive than seasoning in Australia: open air sites in a mild and temperate climate with rainfall of at least 900 mm. Very simply, these conditions are favourable for a fungus that produces an enzyme that hydrolyses (reacts) with certain molecules that give the “green wood” and bitterness characters; these molecules are then leached (washed away) by the high rainfall. After at least 24 months out in the open air the staves are then machined, shaped and jointed, then packed and delivered to the Yalumba cooperage. All we have to do is assemble, bend, toast, fit the heads and finish off … easy really!
Stop Press! Hobart Wine Show … Pewsey Vale Contours wins a trophy for best Riesling and Yalumba wines 7 gold medals.
Stop Press! The Great Australian Red competition … 2006 FDR1A wins the trophy for best Cabernet dominant wine and also wins as the best wine of competition!
Ring a ding ding!