Scenes from Curly Flat -winter 2016

Here’s a variety of shots taken over what has been a winter that has been mostly wet, very wet! As you get all sorts of weather in between, from the sometimes sunny days which serve as the sucker punch to the days of howling wind & driving rain. The rain is welcome though as it has been in deficit of recent years so this sustained soak will hopefully work its way down deeper into our soils. This will help get our vines into a favourable space for budburst and hopefully vintage 2017 overall.

Although 31st May, this frosty start set the tone for winter!

Frost 2000 block

Frost upclose on a vine

Sunrise on June 1st

95 block – 21 years old this year!

Purple haze – sunrise over Lake Lacuna July 18th

Pruning workshop & more with Simonet & Sirch from Italy

Pruners finishing after a long day

Arty shot of CF winery

We’ve had a few beautiful days too!

Daylight hours are extending…

…but it’s still very cold most mornings!

Above average rains have got the creeks flowing

An epic sunrise, 9th August

The big push – one (big) block left to prune!

Finishing on a positive note… while rainbows have been pretty common this year, they always look spectacular!

A new year begins…

As the new year begins, the path leading to our 2015 harvest has now entered its eighth month.  Each vintage starts from the commencement of pruning, as this is where the template for the harvest is (literally) laid down.  Since the completion of pruning, budburst began on the 11th of September, which is later than last year but this is historically speaking still earlier than say 10 years ago.  That said, it has been a case of so far, so good with the growing cycle in vineyard as we have successfully navigated the inherent frost risks of the cool climate of the Macedon Ranges, along with maintaining adequate moisture to the vines at key points throughout the below average rainfall we have/haven’t received going way back to last August.  The weather itself has been fairly moderate, with only a few days reaching above 35 degrees (so far).  This relatively balanced weather, along with robust vine & soil health contributed to a successful flowering period throughout the vineyard which has resulted in good yields along with healthy looking bunches.  But it’s early days as harvest is at least 14 weeks away, and January & February is being predicted to particularly hot by our good friends at the Bureau of Meteorology, so as they say, it’s not over till it’s over!   Meanwhile for a different perspective of Curly Flat, below are some aerial photos taken of the vineyard back at the start of December 2014, along with a photo denoting the successful flowering. Next step for us now in the vineyard is to do a population sample of the bunches which allows us to gather an approximate tonnage for harvest in a few months time.  We’ll keep you update on how this vintage unfolds, but by all means come and visit us and talk to us first hand, along with a wine tasting of some Curly Flat to help celebrate the new year that lays ahead!

Curly Flat Vineyard from a distance.  This photograph was taken facing to the South-east looking upon the pastoral landscapes, of Lancefield, Romsey and onward.

Curly Flat Vineyard from a distance.  This photograph was taken facing to the South-east, looking upon the pastoral landscapes, of Lancefield, Romsey and onward.

Curly Flat Vineyard, a closer inspection.  The dark green areas of the vineyard denote where there is frost protection via overhead sprinklers.

Curly Flat Vineyard, a closer inspection. The dark green areas of the vineyard denote where there is frost protection via overhead sprinklers. For more on our frost protection click here.

Successful Fruitset

Just an example of the good fruit set in the vineyard. Pictured are bunches of Mariafeld Clone Pinot Noir, which is classically a looser bunch than the classic tight knitted ‘pine cone’ shape normally associated with Pinot Noir.

 

Vintage 2013 in barrel, Vintage 2014 is underway…

Now that the dust from Vintage 2013 has settled, we can now look back.

This harvest was the most contracted, in terms of the time taken between our first and last pick, since full production began in 2004.  By full production we mean when each of our 7 blocks each began producing wine grapes simultaneously, which usually takes up to 4 years from initial planting.  This years narrow picking window was not unique to our vineyard, but for the majority of viticultural Australia.  Nonetheless, our crop was kept in balance with the seasons particular ebb and flow which ultimately delivered fruit to the winery at an optimal balance between sugar (alcohol potential) and natural acidity.   Now that all wine is settled in barrel (or tank) for maturation, we are now getting a glimpse of what is ahead in terms of potential.  Whilst the road that lays ahead of these wines remains long, early indications are promising.  The last element missing from the wine now, is time, and for the only thing for that is to wait!  But as our custodial role in the winery continues, albeit at a calmer pace compared to harvest, the same cannot be said for the vineyard.  Although the vines are now dormant, we enter one of our busiest times in the vineyard with pruning. Marking the beginning of Vintage 2014,  correct, balanced, pruning sets the vine up for the best possible start come bud burst in September, and also well into the growing season.  Balanced vine equals balanced wine!  Pruning started this year on May the 29th.  We’ll post more on pruning and its importance in the coming weeks.

But to wrap up this Vintage just passed, we would like give special mention to the vintage crew of 2013.  Come to our cellar door and we’ll invariably talk about what a great team we have, who work day in, day out, to especially high standards, which we feel, reflects in the wine. Come to think of it might be fair to say we equally bottle passion as we do wine (if there’s a difference!)  But each vintage, to varying degrees, we need a few helping hands and this year we had one of the most diverse, yet wonderfully integrated vintage crews since being in the business.  We mentioned diverse, as the crew came from all over the world, Phillip described it as being akin to the United Nations.  With one major difference though, everyone got along!  Thanks for being part of our excellent team, whether it was in the vineyard or winery, or both.  An outstanding vintage is only made possible by an outstanding team. Well done, Bravo, 勇敢な & braver!

“The United Nations” were comprised as follows:

  • Louis       (France)
  • Pam         (USA)
  • Florence  (France)
  • Blair         (AUS)
  • Serge      (Switzerland)
  • Ilaria         (Italy)
  • Nicola      (France)
  • Sarah      (Japan)
  • Daniel     (Italy)
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From L to R: Lisa (CF), James (CF), Ilaria, Damien (CF), Sarah, Chris McK (CF) Lisa (CF Vineyard Manager), Nicola, Chris D (CF), Louis & Jenny (CF). At the front right is Daniel & Luke (CF). Thanks also go to the many hands that are not in this photo, too many to mention!