Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I have been talking about 'plucking' for the last few months, and have recently been asked to clarify the term. Well, OK. It has nothing to do with chooks - that's the first thing. It's all about showing the grapes to the sun and wind. As always, pictures tell a thousand words, so here's a 'before' shot:

And here's the 'after' shot:

In the first image, the grapes are hidden by the leaves. In the second shot we have pulled off all the leaves around the bunches to let air circulate which reduces the risk of mildew and disease and to let sun in; again to reduce disease risk. Both also result in the grapes developing thicker skins, which gives us more to work with when fermenting. Thicker skins allow us to extract more flavours and tannins.

As always, feel free to drop me a note if you have any questions about the foregoing. And, feel free to share my blog link with anyone you think may be interested. It is:
On the social media front, I'm getting there!! We purchased a flip camera the other day, so maybe video on the blog soon! Also, our Twitter sites are growing in support. I'm still working on our Facebook presence - will tell you more soon. One key development from our increased exposure has been the jump in contacts from people who like and and have tried our wines - from all over the world. It has been an exciting discovery.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ready to go

Winemaker Carl is happy today!!
We are finalising several wines for bottling the first week of February, and over the last month or so, our glycol system (used for cooling the wines) gave up the ghost. Ten years old, the plastic pipes were starting to crack and leak. We have had to replace all the lines with special new pipes (guaranteed for 50 years, so that's good), but at a cost of over $15,000! I've long since learned that when pricing anything in a winery start with 3 noughts!  After installation and testing, it is back in operation.

Which is great as Carl is preparing the 2009 Chardonnay, 2009 Pinot Gris, and 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, as well as the 2008 Syrah and the rest of our 2008 Pinot Noir for bottling on February 4 and 5. Watch this space for feedback on the wines - we are very happy with them, but until in bottle and settled down, we are always a bit nervous.

The cooling system is essential during vintage as well, but at this time we need it to cold stabilise the wines before the bottling run. Chilling the wine down forces tartrates to crystalise out of the wine. If not removed the tartrates form in the bottle, and while harmless, detract from the appearance of the wine

Monday, January 18, 2010

The weather sucks!

I’m tired!
•    Of rain!!
•    Of cold weather!!
•    Of wind!!

The last three weeks, which are generally assumed to be part of our peak summer months, have been rubbish. Have a look at the accompanying image – this is one of the roads in our region! Totally unseasonal rain has created slips and floods.......

The weather is costing the grapes time as it slows development down. We continue to run well behind a normal time-line and are hoping for warmer weather to make up lost time. Next week we finish ‘plucking’. This is stripping the leaves away from around the growing grape bunches, to allow sunlight to reach them and for air movement to prevent humidity and mildew.

On the social media side, we had a team workshop last Friday on the new technologies and how we might use them. I have to say the flow chart linking all technologies looked a bit like a pile of spaghetti: You Tube, Twitter, Picassa, Google, Facebook, etc, etc. I did learn that You Tube is now the second largest search tool on-line after Google – amazing. It was a great day seeing what is on the e-horizon!!!! I'm getting there with it all.