We finished up last Thursday, with the last press of our Family Cellar Durif and Friday was the end of vintage party.  It may have taken months, but I think it put years on me, it was the most intense and exciting vintage I can remember.

As I have written before, 2012 is an historic year for All Saints.  For the first time in decades we are now making all our wines onsite at the castle.  From pressing and fermenting aromatics such as Riesling, to our open-fermented and basket-pressed reds, to finishing up with macerating and pressing the fortifieds, it is now all home - where it should be.  Making the whites, with our swanky Italian press and shiny steel tanks was a joy, and the results will speak soon enough as the first wines go to bottle. Yet keeping the old 1880's basket press was crucial too, so nothing changed there.  Thursday's Durif press was the same-old shovel and crank effort, because we know it does the best job.

The weather was a mixed bag, but thankfully went from the very best to the worst and straight back to the best again.  The whites were all in before the first drop of rain, and are going to be the best I have ever made.  Then an almost biblical downpour for a week put everything on hold.  A couple of blocks never recovered and we had to do a lot of thinning on others, but then the classic Rutherglen autumn kicked in and the skies barely darkened again.  The fruit we saved ripened beautifully and the thinning we had to do only helped concentrate the flavours all the more.  Back into superlatives with some best-ever Cabernet and Durif and the highest sugar levels on Muscat I have seen at All Saints.

Finally some thanks, the cellar staff Joel Chambers (I know - clearly a spy) and Stewart Beer worked tremendously hard.  Nick did a brilliant job juggling the vineyard and time in the winery and a special thanks to Barry, our maintenance hero, for getting all the new equipment up and running.

Looking back on 2012, I think that the wines will be great, they will be made, bottled, enjoyed and then forgotten.  However, what we did this year, in bringing the winemaking home again will long be remembered as a significant event in the, already long and very special, history of All Saints Estate.