2019 was certainly a year to remember, three harvests squeezed into twelve months across three different countries. An amazing experience leaving me with a keen appetite for winemaking.
The year began not far from home in the southern hemisphere at Brokenwood Wines in the Hunter Valley. Starting in mid-January we saw some terrific parcels of the chief Hunter varieties of Semillon and Shiraz from some of the area’s top vineyard sites. Brokenwood truly have a great tradition of education and culture and there were many great nights amongst new colleagues and friends.
Next stop, scenic Central Otago half an hour north of Queenstown, New Zealand. Known for a heartier style of Pinot in comparison to the Yarra. I was a part of the vintage team at Peregrine Wines, making varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling and predominately Pinot Noir. It was a great hands on learning curve to work with plenty of Pinot, something that we pride ourselves on at Rob Dolan Wines, so to get more Pinot exposure was a real bonus. Many thanks to Nadine Cross and the team at Peregrine.
Finally, I headed to Burgundy, being a Pinot man, Burgundy has always been on my ‘to do list’ and to work out of Nuits-Saint-Georges in the heart of the Cote de Nuits was amazing. Working with sites such as Richebourg, Clos- Vougeot, Nuit-Saint-Georges, Vosne Romanée, Corton and Gevrey Chambertin and working alongside Thibaiult Liger Belair learning and making wines from an area with such history will be something I’ll always draw back upon.
A jam-packed year, lots of hard work balanced with lots of great wine! Bring on 2020 back home in the Yarra Valley!
-Ben Dolan | Cellar + Brand Ambassador