2019 Vintage Report from Bruce Tyrrell – Edition 3

Wed, February 6th 2019  /   No Comment

Just finished picking half of Lost Block Semillon on HVD, as well as the HVD Pinot Noir.  Might be the best of the Pinot Noir for the Vintage at 13.5 to 14 baume and loads of colour, and should go straight to Shiraz Pinot Noir.  Semillons maintained the 10% to 10.5% alcohol like the rest of Vintage so far, and we will finish Lost Block Wednesday night.  The hand pickers went into the Short Flat of Vat 47 and will stay there until they finish it.

Chardonnay crop is up on the Short Flat by about 20% and this has been the same for all of the Chardonnay this year except Penfold Vale.  Fruit was in perfect condition and will be between 12.5% and 13% alcohol.  The pickers have had two big days with 6.00am starts and 1.30pm finishes.  Last night was the last night of machine picking white, and there is only five or six days left by hand.  It has still been pretty hot but not as bad as last week.  We have been blessed with a bit of breeze and a bit of cloud, which makes the pickers’ life a bit easier.

We picked the mulch trials on Andrew’s Chardonnay.  The introduction of mulch has increased the crop level and given slightly better chemistry.  The two parts will be fermented separately and then we can really see if there are flavour differences.  Interestingly, the soil temperature under the mulched rows was a couple of degrees lower than the unmulched area.  We also picked some of Mary-Ann’s Chardonnay into smaller bins, and these were kept overnight in the cold room and crushed and pressed the next morning.  Again we will make two batches from Mary-Ann’s and see what will be the impact on the final wine. 

Finished all of the Chardonnay on the Flat on the 30th and despite the hot dry year it averaged 3.5 tonnes to the acre. The best block picking 4.9 tonnes per acre.  Saturday was Belford, started picking the Semillon, which we planned to finish on Monday with the Chardonnay.  We tested all of the remaining Semillon, which all basically tested the same so we will pick based on the condition of the vines.  So next HVD, then Johnno’s and Debeyers, then the Semillon on the Flat Tuesday and finish by about 10am on Wednesday.  The Semillon, we picked on the Flat today, has yielded a bit over 4 tonnes to the acre, and I reckon it is the best Semillon of the year. 

On Sunday morning we tested all the reds to be picked by machine, and as a result of that we picked the Shiraz on the Baulkham Monday night and unfortunately we were down on budget by about 25%.  This is an exposed block so we will not make any calls on what the Shiraz crop will be until we get a couple of more normal blocks off.  Looked at all of the hand picking Shiraz today, and really it is like the start of the Semillons.  Whilst we would like to start there is nothing ready so we will look again on Thursday and see if we can find something.  I would suspect that we will have five or six pretty busy days next week and pick all of the Shiraz.  There is no sign of rain, or significant rain, for the next 10 days so the only problem we have got to face is our own impatience.

So far so good.


Bruce Tyrrell


Leave a comment