Jules and Brock checking budburst in the 1894 Command block
Vintage 2021 wrap-up
What a treat was the vintage of 2021! After a mix of tricky spring conditions and dry heat put our vines under stress for both V19 and V20, it was a relief to have some volume on healthy vines in the lead up to 2021 harvest.
There was the ever-present threat of rain from the mild La Nina warnings, however to our delight this did not result in the predicted rain which gave us the opportunity to pick all our blocks at their optimum time.
Our season kicked off with various blocks from our Greenock vineyard. We have a couple of Shiraz blocks at Greenock which give a lovely perfume when not left on the vine too long. These are normally our first to come off.
We also took an earlier pick from our Nuriootpa vineyard, on 23 February. This block gives a more structural element for our Shiraz.
Grenache was the only variety to fall victim during flowering resulting in very little fruit for our Grenache based blends. Harvesting continued solidly until mid-April, when we picked our last batch of Cabernet from Eden Valley.
We are really happy with the power of the wines from 2021. They have an intensity, yet a freshness of fruit overlaying this power that is delicious. There will be some fantastic reds bottled later in the year too, capturing that vintage-borne freshness!
We are super excited about our 2021 vintage releases – Brock is calling it ‘the unicorn vintage’.
In the vineyard
Wow what an amazing winter we’ve had! The rains were slow to come, but after a brilliant July we have had the wettest season since 2016. The warmer weather has pushed an early budburst (mid-August for some varieties) so now it’s all hands on deck to get everything tidied up and ready for the growing season.
There have been a few fun projects we have had developing through the winter too:
After our past experience cutting out herbicides at Greenock, we decided to purchase a twin-sided finger weeder. This cultivates the area under the vines to pull out weeds. While we had a similar approach last year, the new equipment has allowed us to cover the ground far quicker, with superior weed control and reduced diesel use.
Our first phase of native vegetation plantings happened in June, establishing 350 plants of various native species. These will provide shelter for a range of beneficial insects that help keep pests down in the vineyard. Along with this, they will help bring diversity to the landscape and act as hosts for many other birds and insects, so will broadly improve the biodiversity of the area.
At Greenock we have an exciting 4-hectare development almost ready to plant. We will be planting Shiraz cuttings from the Command vineyard, as well as a small area to Cinsault. Unfortunately, it will be a couple of years before we see any crop from these, grape growing is a patient game…
Read more detail about these projects on Conrad’s blog post at eldertonwines.com.au/blog/vineyard-update-oct-2021
Story from our newsletter, the Elderton Buzz – October 2021 edition