A brief history… and wine

December 13, 2019

Dear friends

With the end of a decade just around the corner we’re feeling a little reflective. 10 years ago Neil had just made the move from the winelands of South Africa to join me in my two-bedroom apartment in Sydney. We’d just got engaged but weren’t quite ready to commit to a puppy. Definitely no children yet. All our disposable income went towards wines we really couldn’t afford and taxis home from restaurants in the same category. The pots of herbs in our postage stamp courtyard were dying from neglect. Life was fun.

And then the grown-up stuff started. First a wedding, then came Squid, our mini Schnauzer, then a monumental leap from the city to a point on the map where we didn’t know a soul but saw potential in the climate and the soil. Then came baby number one, the purchase of The Wine Farm, baby number two, the release of our first vintage, baby number three… Now any money coming in goes straight into the vineyard or new tanks and barrels in the winery. A new press is our Christmas present to each other this year, so the romance is still alive. There’s only one taxi in South Gippsland and we’re yet to experience it. My herbs are thriving.

We’ve only had a short history on The Wine Farm but five years in we’re steadily gaining knowledge of the seasons in our new home and how the farm responds. We bank this knowledge in a special corner of the cellar. It’s called library stock.

We always squirrel away a few bottles of each release to see how they develop over time. At this stage of the year we like to browse the library shelves and check out a selection of wines from previous vintages to help frame our thoughts about the season at hand. How are they looking with age and what can we do in the ripening period ahead to do better.

This year we’re delving into the Rieslings. Dry Riesling, when done well, has it all – good acidity, grip, length, aromatics and texture. It’s one of our favourite grapes in the world and definitely one of the best to pair with food. The perfect partner to virtually any Christmas dinner I can think of.

But our 2019 is still aging in tank and cask, our 2018 is aging in bottle and won’t be released until next spring, and our 2017 sold out to the market a few months ago. Luckily, because we’re hoarders, we held a little back from the trade both to drink ourselves and to offer to those of you who might be interested too. We’re also going back to the beginning.

On offer today is a small allocation of three vintages of Riesling from The Wine Farm: 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The Wine Farm Riesling 2015 

Every now and then someone will ask Neil, ‘What’s the best wine you’ve made’. He’ll typically skirt around the question not wanting to reveal which of his children he loves the most, but I know he is secretly very proud of the 2015 Riesling. This wine is electric. It’s aging gracefully with no signs of wrinkles or grey hair. It has great texture and an incredible drive on the palate. The result of a beautifully cool, gentle vintage.

The Wine Farm Riesling 2016 

2016 was a drier vintage with a warmer ripening period resulting in smaller berries and a lower yield. All of this means a very different wine to the 2015 – richer, fruitier, a touch less acid but a more concentrated finish. It’s always fascinating to see how the same grapes in the same soil handled the same way in the cellar can deliver a very different drink, just down to the weather.

The Wine Farm Riesling 2017 

Back to a more classic cool climate Riesling again in 2017 with weight and tension on the palate, though not quite to the degree of 2015. This is the elegant sister to the masculine brother of 2016. Full malolactic fermentation (as per all our whites) gives texture and breadth to an otherwise classic, acid-focused palate with a stony minerality. Classic Riesling with an edge.

If any of these tickle your fancy, or you’re curious to see two or three of them side by side, let us know and we’ll raid the library and can have them with you by Christmas. Or if you’re short of anything else for the festive season – pink, white, red or bubbles – drop us a note and we can help out with those too.

We’ll be back soon with our notes on the 2020 season so far. Perhaps in the new year when the bird nets are on and we pause to catch our breath before the first harvest of the decade. A decade we suspect will make the last one look like a walk in the park.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours,

Anna

  • A kick up the bum

    March 28, 2020

    March sees us in voluntary self-isolation anyway as we shut out all distractions and focus our energy into harvesting our crop, but with our customers shutting up shop we’re feeling the paradigm shift even in our little oasis

    More
  • Sparkling conversation

    December 1, 2019

    Bubbles aint bubbles. There are so many ways to make wine sparkle and given the one we use is a little left of centre we thought it might be timely to give you a ready reckoner on all things fizz. Plus, get your hands on our 2018 Pétillant naturel.

    More
  • Certifiably insane

    October 12, 2019

    It’s official, we’re now ‘Australian Demeter Biodynamic in conversion’. So what the hell does that mean? Let’s break it down.

    More
  • Picture perfect Pinot

    October 5, 2019

    When the fruit entering your cellar looks like a still life and you’re already painting a mental picture of the final product, you can’t help but wonder if this might be the one. 2017 was a great year for growing Pinot noir in South Gippsland.

    More
  • Planting thoughts

    August 26, 2019

    When we bought The Wine Farm five years ago we inherited eight varieties of grapes in two types of soil and varying states of health. Now they’ve had a chance to show their true potential in this cool climate and with our way of farming, it’s time to make some changes.

    More
  • Hailing a cab

    August 5, 2019

    If your typical cab sav is dark and broody, our Farm Wine Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is bright and light on its feet with gentle tannins, a lovely texture and no sharp edges. Think raspberries not blackcurrants; herbs not tobacco.

    Think uber not black cab.

    More
  • Vintage 2019

    May 10, 2019

    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.

    More
  • Let’s talk about the weather

    April 20, 2019

    ‘Cool climate’ is a term that gets used a lot in the wine world but not always appropriately. It’s the weather during ripening that really counts, and the closer to picking the more of an impact it has on the ultimate style of your wine.

    More
  • One door closes

    February 12, 2019

    This morning the last of the nets went over the vines marking the end of the back-breaking vineyard work till harvest starts in about three weeks; the cellar door is now closed until Easter; and the kids’ activities have started up again for the year (including our oldest starting school!). It truly does feel like new beginnings.

    More
  • In the thick of it

    November 18, 2018

    Until now we’ve tackled weeds in the vineyard by slashing under the vines. But when your back hurts just looking at the vineyard at the beginning of the growing season, and then your tractor starts making the same groaning noises as you, it’s time to re-assess the situation.

    More
  • A kiss on both cheeks

    October 18, 2018

    The Wine Farm Pinot gris 2017 – dry, textured and full of flavour it’s a nod to the Italians, a kiss on both cheeks with the French but 100% The Wine Farm.

    More
  • The Wine Farmer’s Wife

    September 22, 2018

    When we first bought this property and all its beautifully manicured flowerbeds we knew we wouldn’t have time to stop and smell the roses… so we pulled them all out. Then politely dismissed the gardener.

    More
  • Our pet project

    September 12, 2018

    There’s nowhere to hide with our pét-nat. With no added sugar, zero sulphur, no additions whatsoever, you are literally left with grapes in a bottle. So those grapes had better be good!

    More
  • Contains sulphites

    August 31, 2018

    Turning fruit into wine is fraught with problems. There are hordes of bad bugs and yeasts out there waiting to infiltrate your cellar, get their claws into your juice and turn it into vinegar.

    So how do you stop them? And without creating a host of new problems like headaches, breathing difficulties and worst of all, ho-hum wine…

    More
  • Stop and smell the rosé

    August 19, 2018

    A well made rosé should command as much respect as a decent white wine. Well, nearly. It should be dry, light in colour, smell of light bright berries with maybe a touch of dried herbs and a slight tannin tingle to finish. Delicious.

    More
  • A tale of three farms

    August 11, 2018

    Good wine has great flavour. Great flavour comes from beautiful fruit. And beautiful fruit comes from a healthy farm. Conventional, organic, biodynamic… what is the best way to farm grapes?

    More
  • Judgement day

    August 8, 2018

    With the first of our 2017 vintage ready to release, it’s time to offer up the fruits of our labour so you can decide for yourselves if you think our approach works.

    Introducing The Wine Farm Chardonnay 2017.

    More
  • No place like home

    July 14, 2018

    We’re always talking about the importance of wines being allowed to show ‘place’ – keeping the fruit pure to let it express the soil in which it grew. So given we’re very nearly ready to share the first of our 2017 wines with you, we thought we should tell you a bit about our place first. What’s so special about The Wine Farm?

    More
  • Daddy, you smell like soil

    June 30, 2018

    In Neil’s native South Africa, where he studied and started his career in wine, vineyards are commonly referred to as ‘wine farms’. The focus is on growing grapes and the people who grow them are farmers.

    More
  • Pure ain’t simple

    June 8, 2018

    Here at The Wine Farm we work hard to make pure wine that shows place not process.

    It’s taken us a long time to come up with those few words, and while they might not sound like much to you they mean the world to us.

    More
  • Welcome to The Wine Farm

    May 24, 2018

    We’ve just started a conversation with people who value the same sort of wine as us – wine that is pure; wine that shows place not process – and are interested in how it’s achieved. If you’d like to hear more about the wine we make and how we make it, as well as getting … Continued

    More