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.