Vintage 2017 is fast approaching. Lately we’ve had some cool nights and warm days, perfect for ripening grapes. We are down a little on yields due to some cool wet weather in spring but quality looks excellent. The vines are balanced and we are looking forward to good accumulation of sugar and flavour.
The Yarra Valley has missed out on some of the extreme weather we’ve seen around the country with the Hunter experiencing heat waves while the West is under flood. Last week we had a truck driver arrive here from the Hunter, he left with the temperature at 48 degrees and arrived here at 18 degrees, a 30 degree drop.
So, it looks like a later start to vintage compared to recent years, late February or early March will be the kick off time. Usually we would be getting into full swing about now. We are getting back to a more traditional vintage, a bit retro. In fact, Rob is going through his cupboard and dusting off his old paisley shirt with big lapels, putting on his old flared cords and growing out his side burns.
We have a very diverse international crew of vintage staff on board. Peter and Evan make up team USA, Andrea from Chile, Han from China and Vincent from France. Last Friday we had a pre-vintage lunch (making full use of the chef and kitchen next door at The Farm), sampled some fine wines and played some high-quality table tennis and back yard cricket. If you’ve never seen a Frenchman bowl to a guy from the US, it looks nothing like Dennis Lillee bowling to David Gower.
So we’re all set to go, the winery is spic and span, the picking bins are ready, the stainless steel fermenters are clean and shiny. Bring on the grapes.
On a final note, we’ve all been enjoying watching the budding friendship of our two Labradors Billie and Merlo. Merlo has gone from nuggetty toddler to gangly teenager in the space of 4 months, see photos. He’s catching up in height, although not in girth.