Vintage 2019 is fast approaching, and if this hot, dry weather persists it could be a lot earlier than we initially thought. In the south it has been exceptionally dry and consistently warm to hot. The older vines seem to be handling it surprisingly well, courtesy of a very dry spring which enabled the survival of their deeper vine roots. Hence we are concentrating our irrigation efforts on the higher and more exposed blocks, and the younger vines that have yet to fully develop their deep root systems. With some pretty mizzly, drizzly weather during the flowering of some blocks, there are some smaller berries in bunches where the pollination was incomplete – hence I am expecting only fairly modest bunch weights and yields. Coupled with a continuation of this weather pattern, this will also accelerate veraison and ripening. In fact we are seeing the early signs of veraison ie berry softening and a little colour, in Pinot Noir berries in our earliest blocks. Ah, the joys of applying bird netting are not far away!!
It has been a very mixed bag so far – ranging from an exceptionally dry winter and spring, to a recent week of mizzly, drizzly weather here in south east Tassie. We picked up 20 – 30mm of rain across our vineyard blocks, but it was a pretty agonizing process due to the persistent, drizzly showers and the prolonged heavy could cover rather than shorter bursts of heavier rain. We had a couple of chardonnay blocks commence flowering during this weather, whilst one of our main pinot noir blocks was almost mid flower. I would love to see a few weeks of warm sunny weather – with perhaps the occasional “worthwhile “shower – as opposed to our recent dull, cloudy conditions. But so far our vines look healthy and the growth is pretty good. Courtesy of the prolonged warm dry season last year, there are plenty of flower bunches on the vines i.e. potential grape bunches, across all varieties. At this stage it is certainly not looking like an early season, in fact I’m starting to think it could be one of the later seasons of recent years – but as usual time will tell! Long way to go yet!
We are very pleased to have been recognized on the world stage with a trio of trophies recently awarded at highly regarded international wine shows in Europe and Asia for our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.
The AWC International Wine Competition in Austria is the largest recognised wine show in the world and this year saw 12,402 wines entered from 1,716 wine producers in 39 countries. At the presentation ceremony in Vienna, we were awarded the trophies for ‘Best White Wine of Show’ as well as for ‘Best Chardonnay up to 12.9% Alcohol’ for its limited release 2016 Bream Creek Reserve Chardonnay. Winning these two Trophies – including the ‘Best White Wine of Show’ at the largest international wine show in the world is quite incredible! Chardonnay is sometimes overlooked in Tasmania, given the popularity of Pinot Noir, but this recognition reinforces my view that Tasmania does indeed produce world class Chardonnay.
We have also received recent recognition for our Pinot Noir. At the 2018 Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition, the 2016 Bream Creek Reserve Pinot Noir (not yet released) was awarded the trophy for ‘Best Pinot Noir’ while at the 2018 Decanter Asia Wine Awards the 2016 Bream Creek Estate Pinot Noir won a “Platinum Best in Show” Medal. These results in international competitions provide a strong endorsement of the great quality of the wines we are producing in Tasmania. There is no doubt that the combination of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and the Tasmanian climate is the envy of many Australian and International wine producers.
It’s been a very successful month for the Bream Creek team, with numerous great results and accolades being received. Highlights included:
- Being awarded “Best Tasmanian Winery” at the 2018 Melbourne International Wine Competition.
- Double gold medal for our 2016 Reserve Chardonnay and gold medals for our 2017 Chardonnay, 2017 Riesling and 2016 Reserve Pinot Noir at the 2018 Asia Wine & Spirits Awards.
- Gold medals for our 2015 Reserve Pinot Noir and 2016 Reserve Pinot Noir at the 2018 China Wine & Spirits Awards.
- Gold medal for our 2016 Reserve Pinot Noir at the 2018 Sydney Royal Wine Show.
- Gold medal for our 2016 Reserve Pinot Noir at the 2018 WineWise Small Vigneron Awards.
The 2016 Reserve Chardonnay and the 2015 Reserve Pinot Noir are both currently available – the other wines are due for release in 2019. You can purchase any of our current release wines via our secure online shop here – remember that you can mix and match and the minimum order is only 6 bottles.
Following a very early start to budswell, the vines have slowed a little over the last 3 weeks – which is great! But warmer, and in the south and east, drier conditions are seeing chardonnay showing green tips and most other varieties are well and truly on the move. Cabernet, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc however, still look a little sleepy. The exceptionally dry conditions in the south east – especially in the Derwent and Coal Valleys and on the East Coast – are somewhat concerning. Our main dams are very low but we are fortunate in being able to transfer water from a reserve dam, and also to get access to some scheme water, which we will need to start drawing in the next week. Very dry springs also traditionally carry an increased risk of late spring frosts, which in some blocks can be quite damaging. Most of our blocks have a very low risk factor, but never the less we shall be monitoring the situation closely. Our stately old riesling vines at Bream Creek are now commencing their 45th spring – so I guess they have seen wetter and drier seasons before and simply take it pretty much in their stride!
Pruning is in full swing as our vines take a well-earned rest after a hectic vintage. So far a very mild winter, and in southern Tasmania a very dry winter! Whilst it would be great to fill our dams, a few more weeks of cold dry weather would be nice to complete our pruning, and then hope we have lots of rain in September to get some run-off and to refill the soil profile. At present it is looking like a very early spring, so fingers crossed we don’t get any really hard, late frosts which can set back the young vine growth. Cheers, Fred
We were very pleased to read the Australian Sparkling Wine Guide 2018, written by well-known sparkling wine writer Tyson Stelzer. Tyson nominated our current release 2011 Cuvée Traditionelle as one of just three “runners up” for the ‘Best Sparkling Wine Under $50’ – in addition to awarding it 93 points! Tyson also nominated us as a member of his “Hall of Honour”, being a list of the top sparkling wine makers in Australia. We feel quite pleased by this recognition.
Other great results we received included:
- Both of our 2016 Chardonnay wines were reviewed by Wine Showcase Magazine and awarded 94 points each.
- Winestate Magazine awarded our 2014 Estate Pinot Noir 4.5 stars and top of category and our 2017 Schönburger 4 stars and equal top of category in their March/April 2018 edition. They also awarded our 2016 Sauvignon Blanc 4 stars in their 2018 Special Edition.
- Tasmanian wine writer and journalist Winsor Dobbin joined James Halliday and Huon Hooke in praising our 2017 Pinot Rosé – his full review is here.
You can purchase these wines via our secure online shop here – remember that you can mix and match and the minimum total order is only 6 bottles.
I don’t think I have ever experienced a season with such a long, very warm and dry spring and summer. Almost certainly the “official” records will indicate this to be, so far, the warmest on record.
In late spring the vines attained a slightly deeper hue of green and powered away! The vine growth and berry development has been amazing, and the vines and bunches look fantastic.
Last Friday, we were very pleased to receive the Trophy for “Best Tasmanian Riesling” for our 2016 Riesling at the 2017 Canberra International Riesling Challenge. This Riesling was also awarded a rare “Elite Gold”! As we mentioned in our most recent newsletter we’re champions of the Riesling grape and thought the 2016 Riesling was looking fantastic when we released it last month – so we’re very pleased the judges agree! You can purchase this here!
We are well through pruning with just some of the later varieties like Sauvignon Blanc to complete. It is still incredibly dry but we are fortunate in having plenty of water available for the coming season. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an earlier than usual bud break this season – every spring is different! Cheers, Fred
This has to be one of the driest winters for decades – even the vineyard posts are a little loose in the soil! But we have had some cracking frosts which, whilst a little nippy on the fingers, is just perfect for the vines. Deciduous plants require a certain amount of winter chilling to ensure optimal performance next season – much the same way as we need proper sleep! Pruning is well underway and on target, as we prune the various blocks taking into account which varieties have earlier or later bud-break. With such a cold, dry winter all expectations are for a fairly even bud break – but we would like to see some rain pretty soon!
Vintage 2017 will be remembered as one of our latest starting vintages and probably most compressed. Like most of southern Australia, we experienced our coolest February in over 25 years and hence commenced hand picking about 3 weeks later than usual. From March onwards we had great weather – warm and nicely dry and hardly lost a picking day due to rain. I think the cooler February helped our grapes to develop and also retain stunning flavours while achieving the “ripeness” we desired. I am very pleased with the quality of our Bream Creek wines across the board and think vintage 2017 will produce some of the best wines of the decade. Cheers, Fred