Tuesday, April 25, 2017


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter Treats and Other Things.

Easter is hot crossed buns on Good Friday and chocolate eggs on Sunday.
When we were kids, we looked forward to those treats with great excitement.
But now, in this commercial world, things have changed.
As soon as the Christmas decorations came down in the stores in mid January what were on the shelves?
Easter eggs and hot crossed buns!!!
In some bakeries the latter are available all year.
But this seems to be the way now.
Everything available all the time.

One example is seasonal fruit.
'Back in the day' there was always an apple, stone fruit, citrus or berry season.
Now thanks to improved cold storage techniques, hot houses, hydroponics and imports,‘stuff' is available almost 12 months a year.
Some examples for us are grapes, cherries, stone fruit and citrus from the USA in our winter.
Asparagus from Mexico and Peru out of season.
Strawberries and apples all year.
Some might think this great but I am a little on the fence with it all.
And talking of hydroponics, a world-leading concentrated solar power (CSP) tower plant that will supply electricity, heat and desalinated seawater to grow tomatoes in the Australian desert has been constructed in South Australia.
Maybe this is the future of some crop production in this era of climate change.
This video is worth watching if you have 16 minutes to spare.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Vintage 2017 Final Update

The Semillon was racked off the fermentation lees and returned to the tank with 50ppm SO2.
The night before we had prepared a slurry of bentonite. To this we added some of the wine to make a solution and stirred this into the the tank for some time thoroughly dispersing it.
Bentonite is a special clay made of aluminium-silicate. It is distinct from other clays in that it is formed from volcanic ash.
Bentonite is principally used to remove proteins from white wine and juice, as it is a negatively charged clay colloid and reacts with positively charged proteins, precipitating them from the wine and clarifying it.
After it settles for a week or so, the wine is racked again and then checked for pH and free SO2 content in preparation for bottling at a later date.
For the Cabernet rose' we tried a different method. We added the bentonite solution to the ferment. The vigorous action of fermentation keeps the clay circulating through the wine, not letting it settle on the bottom of the tank, theoretically making it more effective.
After settling,  the fermentation lees and bentonite are then racked off together eliminating one production step.
We do not go through the cold stabilization process for white wine or rose' here. Tartrate crystal precipitation during cold storage eg. in the refrigerator, is a fact of life and, although not aesthetically pleasing in commercial wines, it is of little consequence quality wise. And it's one less process to subject the wine to in our oxidation prevention program.
All our red wines are fined with egg white.
The albumen is gently dispersed into 10 times its volume of water with a little salt added to help the process.
The solution is then gently stirred into the wine and left for a couple of weeks before racking.
French oak chips are added to each red wine in various percentages to impart the traditional oaky aroma/flavour. The wine is stored in the sealed tanks for about a year before bottling is considered. It is racked off sedimentation lees a number of times during this period and SO2 levels monitored.
So that was that for 2017.
What started out as a more than satisfactory vintage weather wise ended on a disastrous note.
We are happy with the quality of the Semillon, Pinot Noir and Tempranillo.
How the Cabernet rose' will turn out is anybody's guess. It was produced somewhat as an act of desperation to try to salvage a grape crop destined to rot on the vine so if we have to dump it at least we can say we tried.
In a few months pruning will start and we will be ready to do it over again for 2018.