When people ask, “hey how would you rate the 2015 vintage”, instinctively I revert back to the stock line – “best vintage in living memory”. As winemakers, it’s what we’re taught to say at uni.
In reality, the stock line might not be too far from the truth. Following the 2014 vintage where we endured nearly every possible natural disaster known to man (cold spring thus poor flowering, hail, frost), we were justifiably anxious and pessimistic about our dealings with Mother Nature and what she would bring. Some might say she owed us one.
In any case, what she delivered was a master-class in how to execute a perfect flowering and a near flawless ripening period without the pitfalls of blistering hot weather or excess humidity. So, to borrow a phrase from a famous Labour leader, a winemaker who can’t make good wine in a year like this “is a bum”.
If I had to pick a stand-out variety at this early stage, it would be hard to go past the Chardonnay, but watch out for the Cabernet and Pinot Noir, they’ll be sure to impress.
At the winery, we welcomed a new crew-member, Ben Dolan (yes, Rob’s son) who tackled his first vintage and made it look easy, not unlike his cool displays under pressure on the football field. The good news is that the experience didn’t turn him off wine and he is keen to stick around and learn more.
So as not to highlight my size deficiency, young Dolan was assigned to the evening “Big Shift” comprising Adrian, Ben Schultz-D and Ben Dolan, all guys around 2 meters in height. Needless to say, there was no job too big for them to handle.
Together with a well-drilled day crew, we managed to set a new record for total tonnes processed, a welcome relief given the shortfall in 2014.
A big thanks to all our growers who have given us immaculate fruit, our transport company who delivered no matter what, and last but not least, our dedicated cellar team who have worked tirelessly and in great spirit.