We are now approaching the final stages of picking vintage 2019 – one of the most compressed vintages I have ever seen! I suspect this will be a more regular occurrence thanks to climate change, so we have better get used to it. The upside is we will get more of a break between vintage and our winter work – now that does sound great!
Whilst vintage is always a “marathon” event – very long weeks organising and working with lots of pickers, many of whom are foreign backpackers with virtually no local knowledge, handling the logistics of ensuring snips, buckets, bins, forks, pickers, trucks, porta loos etc are on the correct blocks for picking – this vintage has been particularly “manic”! The later varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling decided to develop flavours amazingly early and needed to be picked about the same time as our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. To get through in a timely manner we have been picking up to 4 vineyard blocks per day – which is a considerable stretch for our teams.
Usually vintage proceeds in a more “orderly” fashion, but not in 2019! Fortunately the weather has been with us, I think we only lost one day of picking due to weather. The grapes have been excellent with some great flavours, generally smaller berries so more concentration of flavour and colour, and the volumes more like average so the vines have handled the fruit load quite easily.