Hand-picking a special block of old vine Shiraz

10.32am, Friday 1st April, Yalumba Clocktower, Angaston, Eden Valley, The Barossa
OK folks – it’s an absolutely beautiful gold star day out there today. There were two hot air balloons up early this morning, and because there isn’t any wind, they would have had the best lazy drift sightseeing flight across the Barossa. Seriously chilly but memorable.

Still on the vine, set up well in a wind tunnel with a bit of canopy cover

There’s not a cloud in the sky, and I’ve just come in from the valley floor, where we’re up to something a bit special for Kevin Glastonbury. He’s toughed it out and left a block of old vine Shiraz to hang through all the nasty weather last week, and the pickers are in there this morning. This fruit has always ended up in Signature or Octavius so it’s got a teriffic pedigree. It’s also worth mentioning that how you set the vine up at pruning the season before has every influence on what happens come ripening and harvest – and here’s a good example of what to do right. These bunches have ripened evenly, have good exposure to the sun, but still have reasonable cover from some canopy. Plus – essential for this year – they’re sitting in a bit of a wind tunnel, so have dried out quickly and not caught any spotty disease! The vineyard crew also went through around veraison and thinned off a lot of bunches, to make sure what was left on ripened really well. Good call at the time Kev!

Look at all that blue sky this morning!

Look at all that blue sky.

This is the load bin ready to go to the winery, and that’s the white needle spire of the Light Pass church in the background. We’re right on the Valley floor Flatlands here in the Grope Vineyard Shiraz block, on brick red dirt.

This load is ready to go to the winery. Can you spot the Light Pass church spire?

Good consistent form in the bunches.

Good form!

And a closeup showing the slightly raisined and soft berries – definitely time for this fruit to be picked. I’ll let you know how the juice shows when the load comes in, and I’ll get a photo a few days into the ferment to see how the colours develop.

Check out the slightly raisined and soft berries.

Now, just when you thought the day couldn’t get any better …

Mmm, doughnuts.

I went up to grab a cup of tea from our cafe here at the winery and ran into Graham from IS (Information Services – all the in house computer boffins) with an absolute mountain of just-made, still-warm cinnamon sugar doughnuts. They’ve borrowed the doughnut machine from the Angaston Scouts and made morning tea for the whole place. How nice is that! Here you go – they smell as good as they look, and they taste as good as they smell! Thanks!

PS Almost forgot. We had another group of our sales folk from around the country at Yalumba this week doing the in house ‘mini vintage’ program. Johnno from Queensland branch – who had Todd the manager from The Claret House Wine Bar in Brisbane along to see how it all works (we’re definitely getting our fair share of good looking boys in the cellar this vintage, gals!); Nick from Melbourne branch – we’re off to take Yalumba to regional Warragul in May with the Rare & Fine reds and looking forward to it!; Mitch from NSW branch who currently pretty much owns Wollongong for us; Luca also from NSW branch putting Yalumba in all the right spots on Sydney’s North Shore; Jacki from Perth branch – the restaurant specialist for us; and Karin from home base here at Angaston who looks after all the winemakers’ schedules. I took them out for dinner and the local quiz night at the Tanunda Club on Wednesday night and the boys all went for the legendary 600g T-bone steaks. Our road warriors out there at the sales coalface deserve the best, and here’s all that was left!

All that's left ...

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