Mountadam Vineyards


Welcome to our blog.  We are passionate about what we do and hope you enjoy reading about what we do.

Helen McCarthy
19 July 2017

'Winter is Here'.  It's a catch cry that rings true not only for Game of Thrones but also for Mountadam.  Temperatures have dropped significantly and we have recently been reminded of what rain is.  Which means that we are cracking out our reds to drink in front of the fire (or GoT episode). 

So what do you do in a winery, vineyard and farm during winter (apart from shiver)?  Glad you ask!

The winery is busy preparing our 2017 aromatic whites, 2015 icon reds (including a new special release) and 2016 premium reds for bottling.  We are also putting the last of the 2017 reds to bed in barrel at the moment and are still stirring the Chardonnay barrels regularly. 

The vineyard team are finishing the last few blocks of pruning, fixing posts and doing general vineyard maintenance. We are also preparing some blocks for re-development this year.  More baby vines will be in the ground by November. 

The farm has been quite busy of late with calf and lamb marking being completed in the past few weeks. 

Helen, James and Caitlin are also heading over to Melbourne for the first Barossa Be Consumed event.  If you are in Melbourne and want to get a really good handle on what the Barossa does (and its not just Shiraz) head on down to the Meat Market and join us Saturday 21st of June (check it out here).





19/07/2017 at 2:55 PM
Helen McCarthy
17 May 2017

You may be wondering what happened to my blog post in April.  In a word vintage.  After a slow start thanks to a cool summer and autumn, we hit our peak in April.  As of today I have just three red fermenters left with fruit in them - these are Cabernet Sauvignon which I am skin soaking.  As a result I'm being asked daily when the cellar can finish pressing. Once we have pressed the last tank we'll have our post vintage celebration and breath a sigh of relief.  

The wines are looking really smart.  The weather conditions allowed the grapes to ripen really slowly (I mean really slowly) and develop their flavour at lower than normal sugar levels.  In the reds the colour and tannin development in the skins happened relatively early (in terms of sugar ripeness).  The up-shot of this is flavoursome, balanced, elegant wines.  

The work doesn't stop there though.  We are already well underway to preparing our 2017 aromatic whites for bottling and most of our 2017 red wines have completed malolactic fermentation and are screaming to be filled to oak.  In the Chardonnay bunker the barrels are being stirred twice a week.

We are also preparing some previous vintage wines for bottling.  The 2015 premium reds are coming out of barrel (including a very special parcel - keep an eye out for news in the next few months on this) and the 2016 Chardonnay's are well on the way to being ready for bottling.  

As you can see the craziness of vintage may be over but we still have plenty to keep us out of trouble.  

The farm has also been busy with lots of calves running around and our sheep looking very pregnant.  It won't be long before we have lots of lambs running between the vines.  We run sheep in our vineyard between harvest and bud burst.  The sheep provide a low impact (in terms of soil compaction and energy) and chemical free way of keeping winter weeds under control.  An added bonus is that they do a little bit of fertilisation as they meaner through the vines eating the grass and weeds.  The trick is make sure they are out of the vineyard before any fresh, sweet leaves break through on the vines.  


17/05/2017 at 1:54 PM
Helen McCarthy
16 March 2017

The wait is over - well sort of.  We kicked off vintage on the 10th of March with our Pinot Gris.  The fruit looked great and we are confident of it making a great wine.  We have harvested our sparkling wine base and a few small blocks of Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer.  We are expecting that next week will see the majority of our Chardonnay harvested. Followed by Riesling in 1.5 - 3 weeks and our reds in 2 to 4 weeks.  All the fruit is holding canopy well and ripening slowly but evenly.  

The 10th of March also saw us commission our new press and white receival area.  The new area allows us to tip loads of grapes directly into the press, eliminating the need for us to pump white fruit.  Tim and Helen have the white receival running smoothly and efficiently.  The winery is starting to smell like vintage with the first few ferments just starting to get going.  There is nothing quite like the first few days of a Gewurztraminer ferment to fill the air with a beautiful perfume.  

Here's to the start of vintage 2017!


16/03/2017 at 4:09 PM
Helen McCarthy
27 February 2017

It's hard to believe that summer is nearly over.  We've had a very mild summer and the soil water profile still looks good thanks to the top up rainfall we have received during summer.  The result of which is a long ripening period for our grapes.  I can't wait to start harvesting our grapes, time will tell but at this stage everything is pointing to a really high quality vintage.  

We are all getting itchy feet given this is the latest vintage has started for quite a few years.  It's pretty sad when you are driving along, see a harvester and your excitment level peaks.  It won't be long now and we'll all have sticky hands and the lab floor will squeek thanks to the juice being trudged through on boots.  Then we'll know for sure its vintage! 

The winery has been a hive of activity in February with the installation and commisioning of some new pieces of equipment.   We're all really keen to start using them.  We have a new press that will allow us to press all of our whites without needing to run them through the destemmer and crusher.  Why is that important?  I'm glad you asked. Tipping the fruit directly into the press will allow us to extract the lovely juice without overextracting skin, seed and stalk tannins, whilst minimising oxygen contact.  The aim is to preserve the elegance and varietal characters the vineyard has given us.  

The second piece of equipment we have for vintage 2017 is a peristaltic pump.  Our winery isn't set up to gravity feed operations so we've gone for the next best thing.  A very gentle pump that can not only move our white juices and wines but also help to empty our red fermenters ready for pressing.  The theory behind us using this type of pump is similar to that of the new press and that is protection of what the vineyard has given us.  

February has also seen our new oak barrels start to be delivered.  Now we just need grapes.  I'm making an educated guess that in two weeks we will start to harvest our vineyards and we'll come back up for air in May. 



27/02/2017 at 12:34 PM
Helen McCarthy
13 January 2017

It may be Friday the 13th but we're feeling good.  The vines look amazing and despite Mother Nature throwing in some unseasonal rainfall and humidity we are disease free.  The vines are progressing well and we have started to irrigate to maintain them.  We are also shoot thinning to tame some very active Chardonnay and encourage even canopy development in some of our Riesling.  The talk around Eden Valley is that vintage will be around 3 weeks later than normal.  We haven't found anyone who is willing to say what normal is!   If I was a betting woman I put money on that we'll be harvesting some sparkling base in the last week of February (two weeks later than last year).  

For those of you who are interested in rainfall patterns here's a little about rainfall at Mountadam Vineyards:

Year Rainfall mm
2009 868
2010 914
2011 755
2012 528
2013 716
2014 693
2015 530
2016 1030
Average Rainfall (2009-2016) 754





13/01/2017 at 3:00 PM
Helen McCarthy
2 December 2016

After a slow start the vines are really looking good now.  We haven't had any significant heat events and have had a few small rain fall events in the past month.  While the climate is providing potential disease management challenges, we haven't found any issues as yet (touch wood).  We have engaged an expert viticulturist (Mandy) to make sure that Sally and I don't miss anything.

Our vineyard guys have been busy "feeding" the vines with both foliar sprays and fertigation (nutrients mixed with water distributed with a fertigation).  We've also been spending quite a bit of time on grass and weed management.   It's suprising how much it grows when the sheep are relocated away from the vineyard. 

The vineyard has also been a hive of activity with the re-development of some sections of the vineyard.  We have planted several clones of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.  From a winemaking point of view we really won't see the benefit of this for about 5 years but already I'm excited about the new clones.  

The vines are showing signs of commencing flowering any day.  Our soil probes are showing that the vines are taking up nutrient which is always a good sign that flowering is near.  Fingers crossed for good weather conditions during flowering.  Irrigation of certain sections of the vineyard will become really important from now until harvest.


02/12/2016 at 9:27 AM
Helen McCarthy
1 December 2016

Firstly let me thank-you for visiting our new website.  We are really excited about launching our new website.  I hope that you will enjoy the experience of using our website to not only learn more about Mountadam Vineyards but also to buy our wines. 

01/12/2016 at 9:45 AM
Helen McCarthy
18 November 2016

It's been a cool damp start to the 2017 growing season.  While we are looking forward to sheding layers of clothing, we are pleased to see our dams completely full at the start of the season.  Bud burst started first in late August in our Chardonnay blocks.  Thanks to several cold snaps the vines slowed down, bud burst and subsequent development was slow.   Warm weather has finally arrived in early November (fingers crossed it stays around) and the vines are now racing along. 

Our main focus in the vineyard at the moment is ensuring our preventative sprays are up to date.  We are also managing grasses and weeds in the vineyard that are benefiting from this years growing season conditions.  Sally is spending most of her time in the vineyard doing pest and disease monitioring and yield estimates. 



18/11/2016 at 9:54 AM