Letters from The Wine Farm
Sitting here by the wood burner on a chilly morning, watching the autumn rains through the kitchen window as they drench the vineyard, it’s hard to cast my mind back to the heatwave we had on the farm just two months ago.
Up until that point, vintage 2019 was tracking along nicely. Probably the best yet for our short tenure on The Wine Farm. But just as we were sharpening our snips in preparation for picking, three days of 35–40°C stopped us in our tracks and got us all hot under the collar. We get a handful of really hot days during summer in South Gippsland, but in the five years we’ve been on this farm, never so late in the season and never during such a critical period for growing cool climate grapes. Our hearts broke as we watched our near perfectly ripe fruit tough it out under the beating sun for three days straight, powerless to do anything to help it. Picking it during the heat wasn’t an option – if you’re pitching for high quality wine you never pick when the fruit is warm as the soft berries tend to split leading to spoilage and oxidation. We just had to bunker down inside playing board games with the kids and crossing our fingers till the heat passed.
But now that we’re a safe distance from the event, the grapes have all been processed and the wines safely tucked away for winter, we can look back over the season and take stock.