2021 Vintage Wrap-Up with Nick Brown

We picked all our whites in February and reds came in March including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Shiraz, Old Vine Shiraz, and Durif. We have four blocks of Muscat and one block of Muscadelle to pick, but there is always a grace period of a couple of weeks between picking the reds and our fortifieds. The longer we can leave our fortifieds, the sweeter and richer the fruit will be. Some years they’ll hang out there until May, but generally by May we have all the fruit in.

It’s been a beautiful year as far as growing grapes goes, but labour has been a challenge this year. We handpick about 10% of our vineyard because of the age of the vines, and we usually have pickers on tap (so to speak). All of our visa holders had to go home due to Covid, and the normal influx of backpackers into Regional Victoria are going to Western Australia and Queensland for fear of lockdowns. Because of the absence of backpackers, those pickers that are still out there are in higher demand than usual.

As I have been bringing in the fruit and sorting through it, my observation is that everything is balanced and happy. Nothing has been rushed by hot weather or rain, so the fruit has ripened happily keeping the flavour in sync. The balance of flavour and acidity in the fruit is exceptional due to the constant temperatures, not too hot and not too wet. The slower the ripening occurs the better, and this year has been the best in about seven years. Expect wines from 2021 to have a concentration in flavour and to be exceptionally balanced. The 2021 vintage will one for cellaring.