Cool Climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Bended Knee Vineyard

So far this week...

Anyone with a small vineyard needs to be multi-skilled and able to juggle a number of tasks at one time. It also has its compensations-like some great lunches whilst ‘researching’ where to place the wines. Here is a taste of what this week has been like.

So having ordered all the barrels a few months ago, and the consumables more recently and hoping everything arrives on time...the week leading up to picking is intense. The vineyard sampling and resulting maturity estimates can be used to predict harvest date but there is always the unpredictable nature of the weather. Friends and family constitute the picking team and are given a likely window for harvest about four weeks out; the actual date is confirmed only in the last week. Then there is the rush to clear space in the winery, clean barrels and equipment and keep an eye on the weather forecast. The forces of nature can still deal a blow in those final days, even large winds in the final weeks can wreak havoc with nets and give the birds a fighting chance for a few days.


In the kitchen, menu planning, orders and preparation are built around the rest of the working week. It all comes together in the final few days, with nets removed and a few last minute baking tasks. Last year, ripening was more spread out and picking occurred on two separate days; this year we were aiming to pick everything in one day. Picking day arrives. The alarm goes off well before dawn.


The preparations have been successful, all goes off smoothly (with the exception of a few wasp bites!). With a volunteer labour force of family and friends and the opportunity for a social gathering, the kitchen is the hub of activity on picking day, feeding some 30-40 adults and approximately 15 children an absolute feast. Many thanks to Carol, Bill, Jac, Corry, Robina and Pauline for their tireless efforts. As processing and cleaning continued into the night, the kitchen again sprang into action with hot drinks, soup and big bowls of pasta!


Ten days down the track and the ferments are in full swing. The yields were much less than anticipated-a result of  a tough drought year with tiny berries and next to no juice. However, the flavours and colours are intense! The wild chardonnay ferments (after some anxious moments) have finally started; the pinot after a long lag phase has raced through.


This is a great time of year to walk into the winery and be met by a flood of aromas. A year’s work is coming together; whilst yields were down, the quality of fruit was better than anticipated and the wines hold much promise even at this stage. Out in the vineyard, a few small jobs before the vines nod off for the year...

16 April 2009

Well it has been a long break between blog postings! When better to rectify things than right in the middle of vintage. It is a time of intense activity and unforgiving deadlines. The lead up is always an exercise in  planning and logistics. Not only do you have to get yield estimates pretty accurate (it determines how much ferment space, consumables and barrels are required), the timing also has to be worked out (when will the crop be at optimum for picking?).

In previous weeks:



June 2008

25 November 2007


19 August 2007

5 August 2007

8 June 2007

22 May 2007

1 May 2007

18 April 2007

8 April 2007

29 March 2007

21 March 2007