Like human beings, a wine’s taste is going to depend a great deal on its origins and its upbringing.
– Linda Johnson-Bell
During the 2019 vintage a friend offered to spend a day helping in the vineyard, “I had no idea how busy or how hard the work is.” he said. “I was running all day.”
Yes, vineyards during vintage are extremely busy and with mechanical harvesting as a an alternative, the action can go through the night as well. Getting grapes to the winery in good condition is an art in itself.
On arrival at the winery some grape varieties are crushed, juice extracted and pumped to stainless steel refrigerated tanks, while others are sent as whole berries to start the fermenting process in large open, stainless steel or plastic tubs called fermenters. To the uninitiated it is daunting process but somehow it all ends up in the right place.
A winery is a place of organised chaos. It is a mixture of late nights, early mornings, solving issues on the run, finding lost bins and missing / late trucks, little sleep and strong coffee. Bearers of vintage cakes and other food are loved, the winery dogs bring light amusement, while truck drivers, and laboratory technicians keep everything moving.
Some years ago a young French winemaker who was working a vintage in Australia said in his heavy French accent. “I will not be back, they do not stop for lunch.”
The Adelaide Hills 2019 vintage came and went with indecent speed. In most areas there were too few grapes. Not just a few kilos but tons less than anticipated. To the point it was tempting during picking to save single berries from under the vines., “Oops, you missed one”.
The primary cause was strong winds and rain in November 2018 then with hot weather in January 19 the light crops ripened rapidly by the last week of February and vintage was over very quickly and early. Tim celebrated his tenth Easter off in the last 55 years.
2018 vintage was one of the few Tim awarded a 10/10 for the red wine. At this stage the 2019 grapes, although not qualifying for 10/10 are also showing great potential. Sadly there will be a great deal less of it than we would like.
Next step, making great wine. But that's another story.