The 2022 vintage began in mid-March, about three weeks later than 2021, with some younger Shiraz from our Greenock vineyard. Our Riesling and Chardonnay from Craneford were picked three days after our first reds, which to the delight of our cellar team meant a little extra cleaning to ensure they weren’t turned into rosé!
With much excitement we also took ownership of three Nico Velo tulip-shaped concrete fermenters from Italy. They arrived just in the nick of time to use on some old vine Shiraz from our Nuriootpa vineyard. These have been a fantastic addition to diversify our fermentation options and will build further complexity across our red wine portfolio.
Despite some challenges with Covid around the peak of vintage resulting in Cam and Al dusting off their Cellarhand tools, along with assistance from Bec and Zac, we are extremely happy with the white and red wines from the 2022 vintage.
The cooler season is exemplified in the reds, with both fragrance and freshness and soft seamless tannins a real hallmark of the wines. With these parcels now safely maturing in barrel, Jules and Brock are confident that you will thoroughly enjoy these releases over the years to come.
IN THE VINEYARD
Over the winter we have established a new trellis in half of the Command Shiraz vineyard in front of Cellar Door. You will see shiny new posts alongside the driveway on your way in! We have opted to go with taller posts and extra wires. The aim of this is to give the vines more support. As harvest approaches and fruit increases in weight, the canopies can tend to roll over leading to bunches being exposed to the hot sun. Having extra wires gives the vines something to grab onto to prevent this happening.
Another bonus is giving us more options at pruning so we can achieve better vine balance and make the right decisions to maintain vine health on the old vines for many more years. It’s a nice amalgamation of new meets old, with the newer recyclable metal posts giving us the best options for maintaining the 128-year-old vines.
The straw mulched area at Greenock has also been further expanded. We spread this thickly under the vines. It helps conserve soil moisture and maintains cooler soil temperatures. It is hugely beneficial in the hot and dry years but can have a slight increase in disease pressure in the wetter years (especially the year we are having so far!).
Although the current outlook is in that direction, in our climate it is the hot, dry years that will have far more regularity and consequence in the long run, so it is well worthwhile prioritising the vineyard condition for those seasons.
We are now into our third La Niña year in a row. Each one has been a very different beast; this year has been very wet late into September as well as slightly cooler than average. This has given the vines a particularly slow start with bud burst being later as well as initial growth being very slow. In contrast to last year, we are approximately two weeks behind in terms of growth stage. Thankfully, despite being cooler we haven’t had any frost events so far. Fingers crossed hopefully none come our way!
Story from our newsletter, the Elderton Buzz – October 2022 edition