2018 Vintage Report from Bruce Tyrrell – Edition 2

Mon, January 22nd 2018  /   No Comment

Woke up to a beautiful start to the day under 20 degrees, lovely cold southerly breeze creating perfect picking conditions. However the forecast for 40 to 40-plus degrees at the end of the week is pushing our thinking into picking quickly. Today the hand-pickers took out about 40%, so a bit of picking tomorrow morning will have all the Vat 47 in the cellar with very solid juice that everyone is happy with, although the basket press will work late tonight. We are going at 9pm tonight to Pokolbin Hills, and by lunch time Tuesday plan to have picked all of the Chardonnay, all of the Semillon and all of the Verdelho. Semillon particularly looks very good.

Looked at MetEye and the forecast for the 40 degree days has been downgraded, and I hope the Bureau has got it right and the cold nights continue. Wednesday morning another long cold night and all the harvester and night-shift crew were in heavy jumpers this morning. Our biggest night so far with Stevens Semillon, HVD and Howard’s Chardonnay. Picked 110 tonnes in the last 24 hours. We did a full testing of Semillon on the Wednesday, and as we are almost finished the Chardonnay we could easily go straight into the Semillon. Wednesday night picked HVD Pinot Noir, and on Thursday the Pinot Noir here at the winery for Vat 6. Chemistry is almost perfect, lots of colour, plenty of flavour and plenty of length in the juice. It will be mostly naturally fermented, with a couple of different yeasts being trialled on small batches. The Semillon tests showing us that chemically they are ready to go but the flavour is still not there, and a lot of the juice still tastes like freshly cut lettuce. Not the best character for top Semillon. With the Chardonnay almost finished tonnages are about the same across the board as last year.

Thursday and Friday night we picked all of the Verdelho at Broke Fordwich, with the crop up by about one third on expectations. It has been so dry that the bark on the vines was full of dust, and there was actually some silt that came out in the settling tanks. Thursday night/Friday morning we started to pick Semillon on HVD and on the flat for Vat 1. We pulled out of both after about an hour as they still had a green taste. So the plan to finish whites by Australia Day went straight out the window. Basically had the weekend off. Picked a couple of small blocks of Semillon on Sunday night but tomorrow we start picking Semillon seriously.

The heat is starting to knock the vines about, and I do not believe they are going to last a lot longer. Saw one vineyard today that had full leaf yesterday but was starting to drop leaves today. There is still about 120 tonnes of Semillon to pick by machine which will take us three nights, but there is five to six days of hand picking to come. So hopefully we can get it all done by Saturday afternoon. This is going to be a tough week for the pickers as we have got higher temperatures, but the cloud cover has gone away so they are going to get hot quickly. I would not be surprised if we have not machine harvested some red before the end of this week.

Bruce Tyrrell

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