2018 vintage has certainly been fast and furious. We started picking the Riesling on 22 February and anticipate that this years’ vintage will be over prior to Easter. We’ve processed over 300 tonnes in a short 2-week window (keeping in mind that the winery has only 500 tonne capacity so it’s been an intense and busy time for the team). You can visualise it being like fruit Tetris, constantly shuffling bins of fruit and making room in the winery to move parcels around to keep the grapes in optimal condition as we process it.
Luckily, I’ve had a great team supporting me once again. An eclectic mix of internationals and experienced Best’s team members. This year we welcomed Andi from England, a former Chemistry teacher, and winemaking student, Sam from New Zealand who also works at the City Wine Shop and Dai from Japan. They join “Barrel “Glenn and Hamish Thomson from Best’s as well as Viv who always is keen to lend a hand who embarked on his 58th consecutive vintage.
As many of you are aware, the 4th November frost decimated the fruit surrounding our winery meaning that our single vineyard/ icon wines will not be made for the 2018 vintage. None of the old vine/ Thomson Family Shiraz was picked and we only were able to hand-pick 830kg of Old Clone Pinot Noir (compared to 15 tonnes last year). Some vineyards surrounding the winery saw a tiny crop produced, but any fruit remaining was smashed by the birds and insects. It was just not good enough quality to make a wine that we’d be proud of.
However, the fruit in other parts of Great Western has been exceptional and we are excited about the quality, especially of the Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Shiraz. Good foliage in the vineyards and work from Ben Thomson and his vineyard team has seen great growth and Riesling from Salvation Hills has seen beautiful aromatics and perfume with high natural acidity due to the cool late February weather.
We’re seeing the flavour in the Riesling more intense from the previous year. This is also the case with the Shiraz. Pinot Noir off our Rhymney vineyard also came in quickly after the Riesling and is still on skins, but is also looking beautiful (maybe another 95 pointer like Halliday just gave the 2017 vintage).
Anyway, the Cabernet started coming in today so I’m off to do some more work. Another update to follow when the wines are all safely in and we’ve opened a nice bottle to sit back and admire the nuances that agriculture throws at us to deal with.