VINTAGE 2023 WRAP FROM JULES
Vintage 2023 was one we will remember for some time. Characterised by cooler and wetter-than-usual weather, our vines were in no hurry to ripen their crop. This was a vintage to test both our vineyard team and us in the winery!
Having decided to go without herbicide for a large portion of our vineyard in the growing season leading into vintage, we did have a large amount of undervine growth which proved beneficial in taking up excess water and allowing us to continue vineyard passes to keep disease pressure down.
Our new vineyard on Mengler Hill kept us busy and we are excited about the flavour spectrum this new site will bring to our wines.
Knowing this vintage would likely be the latest start on record, we cautiously took our first pick from our Greenock vineyard, nearly two weeks later than last year. This fruit showed all we expect, with abundant vibrant fruit and a delicious freshness, which we would come to expect from this vintage.
Of note, our 2023 reds have a lovely fine yet long tannin profile, probably owing to their extended slow ripening. The standout so far is our Riesling, with amazing depth of fruit flavour coupled with a very clean acid line – a great first taste of what this vintage brings.
IN THE VINEYARD WITH CONRAD
As winter gives way to spring, we find ourselves juggling almost every vineyard job imaginable. Having four sites at different stages doesn’t help with the complexity! Pruning is the main task of winter. We wrapped up the last pruning in late August while prepping the sites for spring and the growing season to come.
Nuriootpa was pruned late this year, starting in early August rather than June or July. Vines are climbers so tend to want to grow the buds furthest along the canes first – elevating them upwards. By letting this process start before pruning, the retained buds start to grow a bit later, hopefully avoiding the dangerous spring frosts. The vines quickly catch up to where they would normally be, so by November they will be back on track.
Sheep have also been taking care of a lot of the spring work for us, giving us a much-needed head start. They are keeping the weeds and grasses low, saving us a couple of tractor passes through September.
We have been enjoying starting to get to grips with the new property at Mengler Hill. It typically takes around three years to get a good grasp of a vineyard, but it’s been great to start to understand what the vines are showing us. The quality of the wines is superb and the vineyard is stunning, so we are all eager to see what we can do with the site.
Forecasts are pointing to a hotter and drier summer than the past few years. This means there will be a bit of a shift in focus to bring irrigation and smart water use back to the forefront. After how difficult it was with the crazy rains last November, I have no doubt we are not alone in looking forward to the challenge of an El Niño year.
Story from our newsletter, the Elderton Buzz – September 2023 edition