Vintage Starts on a “Fruit” Day

2.08pm White Cellar, Yalumba, Eden Valley
Folks, I’ve been off the airwaves doing very householdery stuff in preparation for 6 weeks crisscrossing the great US state of California from Feb 15th, but I’m back on the deck now and will return to the daily update as we kick the holiday season behind us and head into yet another vintage.

Technically speaking, we started crushing last Friday January 29th. But this was just a batch of grapes that was picked specifically to clean the crushers and all the other grape handling gear in the white cellar that had been cleaned up in preparation for the 2010 Vintage. Always a good idea to push some grapes you can afford to lose through the lines to make sure everything works, is joined together properly and the like – so no surprises spring up with the real thing.

Andy La Nauze

And the real thing started last night – officially February 1st. All the first fruit for Vintage 2010 is earmarked for Andy La Nauze’s Y Series Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. I’ve just grabbed Andy, we’ve donned our glow-in-the-dark danger vests and checked the two lots of fruit to see how they look. I can honestly say that everything looks very clean, lifted, fresh and seriously grapey in nature right now.

90 tons of Pinot Grigio from Blanchetown – 40 minutes north of the winery on the Murray River – was first through the crushers and is sitting quietly cool as juice, waiting for the wild yeasts to start ticking, which should start sometime tomorrow. Andy’s really happy with the juice because it’s come up true to the fruit’s form, which came in very fresh and holding good acid due to a happy, healthy and balanced vineyard – travelling well because of the warm days and cold nights that we’ve had recently in both the Riverland and the Barossa.

Andy’s also got 60 tons of Barossa valley floor sauvignon blanc (some from the Waechters, some from Munzberg) sitting cool on skins – about to be drained and pressed in about an hour’s time. We just popped our heads into the top of the tank for a sniff and all looks well! That juice will cold settle overnight and start fermenting somewhere over the next 48 hours, so that will definitely have us under way.

Now – for the spooky good karma for the start of Vintage 2010 stuff. A small parcel of Chardonnay from the Barich’s organic vineyard near Renmark was also picked last night and put through our crushers, and will end up in our Organic Chardonnay. And if goodwill counts for anything – we’ve started the vintage under a good star because not only is today’s crush of fruit in good shape due to the recent cool evenings, not only is it fruit character ripe, but today was a “fruit” day on the biodynamic calendar. Let’s hope this start augers well for a good vintage!

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