Vintage Report Edition 4 - from Bruce Tyrrell
Mon, February 4th 2013 / No comments
We had no picking last Friday as we couldn’t find anything that we believe was ripe enough to pick. All of the whites on the vine still tasted green. On Saturday morning we finished picking Pinot Noir on the Hill. It would have perhaps been a little higher in sugar but had plenty of flavour and would have been ruined by the rain. Saturday morning we re-tested all of the whites and decided to not pick even though there was heavy rain coming. It’s not good picking them if they don’t have any flavour.
I didn’t believe we would get a lot of rain but 48 hours and 175mm later, my job as Company weatherman was declared vacant. We started hand picking again on Tuesday and by this morning we finished picking all of the top Semillon with Vat 1 and HVD Sign-Post now in the cellar. The tonnages on these two blocks were the same as normal where everything else has been down by at least one third. It may be seen as unsustainable agriculture to deep rip and cultivate our vineyards, but this is why we have held onto our crop levels. I remember Andrew Spinaze saying on Wednesday that the Short Flat Semillon was “straight to Vat 1.”
The pickers, and especially the bucket boys, earned their money the first two days of this week carrying them out half way up to their knees in mud. Most of them will sleep well tonight. This week will make the best Semillons of the vintage, and has vindicated our decision to wait for flavour.
Today, we finished hand picking all of this year’s white but have got about three shifts of machine harvesting left to do. In the last 24 hours we have got the harvester back in the vineyard and are now starting to handle some quantity of fruit. Also today, we have finished the Howard chardonnay and picked about two thirds of the Shee-Oak chardonnay. After Nick Looby got bogged on the harvester, he decided to retire for the day.
We are just finishing putting through the first 30 tonnes of Shiraz for the year. This came from the Upper Hunter and is specifically for Marks and Spencer in the UK. Yesterday, and today, we were able to get on and spray all of our reds. We are currently sitting in the middle of reasonably heavy rain but this will stop quickly……and hopefully, with getting some sun and wind over the next few days, and hold our nerve (Richo’s fingernails are getting shorter by the minute), we will still have some very good red. Next week, hopefully, we are talking about a week of fine weather with two more to go.