As our 2012 harvest approaches we began sampling this week to see where were at with sugar levels and the all important relating balance of natural grape acids. Within our 33 acres under vine, we have 21 separate areas of the vineyard expressed through a combination of our 7 vineyard blocks, 3 varieties (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Pinot Grigio), and a total of 10 clones. These distinct elements will combine to be our ultimate palette for the canvas that will be our 2012 vintage, so it is important we know the status of every area. The above images outline our sampling process undertaken by our Vineyard and Winery team. Our ripest reading is unsurprisingly from the top of the hill, with a Baume (a scale that describes sugar via it’s density in a solution) of 10.7, and with adequate ripening weather we gain about 1 Baume a week. At this rate we might start picking in about two weeks, but it will be staggered as our lowest reading was 7.8 Baume meaning that area will be still four to five weeks away, which is ‘normal’.
With a growing season that has seen earlier development areas across Victoria, whilst in part this true for us also with an earlier budburst, fruit set and veraison, our actual harvest isn’t on track to be the earliest pick. The reasons for this is that we are one of Australia’s coolest viticultural sites, and our fruit ripens well into the cooling autumn, which slows things down a touch. But that’s all part of the plan, as we want a graceful finish to the endurance event that will have lasted the vines around 7-8 months from budburst to harvest. Slower ripening we feel, gains an extra layer of complexity that cannot found in any other way. With combination of our Lyre Trellis system and that the fact we still have a very active canopy means that we are well placed for this preferred slower finish. In all of this Nature as always will have the final say. We’d certainly appreciate it if heavy rain, hail, frost and birds (a video on our bird deterrence systems coming shortly) could stay away for another 6 weeks, but these things will take their natural course. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted as we head towards harvest!