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Archive for March, 2011

In wine country, the weather is usually the single most discussed topic in the lead up to and indeed during vintage each year but this year Mother Nature’s ears must really be burning!

The wet conditions have created havoc this vintage and this causes great concern to winemakers as it is the most significant determinant of vintage quality.   The issues associated with wet weather are many and varied.  From the threat to the grapes of mildew disease and then berry splitting, rotting and fungal disease to the fact that some vineyards cannot be picked when it is raining as the ground is so wet, tractors and harvesters face the danger of getting bogged in the dirt!

So far the reports coming in for vintage 2011 are that many South Australian and Victorian vineyards are suffering losses due to the adverse weather conditions.  At Taylors, our vigilance in the vineyards has paid off with losses kept to a minimum in most blocks.  We are not totally unscathed however and some fruit from both our estate and grower vineyards will not be picked this year due to disease.  This is unfortunate but we understand great wine begins with quality fruit and we simply must reject fruit that does not meet our high standards.  Early estimates are that our intake will be down quite a bit from our forecasts which means we will make less wine from the 2011 vintage than we originally thought.  On the plus side however, due to the yin and yang of agriculture, we have good stocks of high quality wine from the excellent 2009 and 2010 vintages. 

As far as vintage progress goes, at the time of writing we had taken in all of the Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Semillon and Pinot Gris from the estate.  From our grower vineyards, we have harvested some Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris from the Adelaide Hills and some Shiraz from McLaren Vale.  Helen McCarthy, our senior winemaker and Colin Hinze our viticulturist are constantly out in the field ensuring the quality of the fruit we receive is top notch and the flavour profiles right in the optimum zone.  In the winery, the Gewürztraminer was first to complete ferment with the Riesling and Semillon not far behind.

Stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated on harvest and vintage progress monthly……

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Taylors WinesWell, I can now say that vintage has finally commenced! We began on Tuesday 1st March with the delivery of a small parcel of Chardonnay from one of our growers.  Later that week, we harvested some beautifully aromatic Gewürztraminer from the ‘Old Lands’ block on our Clare Valley estate.  The mood at the winery was transported from one of restless waiting to one of enthusiastic action and we are all excited about finally getting into that most important time of the year. 

The next grapes to be harvested from the estate will be the Semillon.  These are always very juicy and I often see a slight ‘juice mist’ over the harvester as it moves through the rows of vines – it is sticky work picking those grapes!

To date in vintage 2011 we have processed only about 10% of last year’s intake and about 5% of the 2008 intake for the same period of time.  What does all this mean? Well, it seems we are in for a very busy March and April and we may even be processing  into early May!

All this is due, of course, to the extended rainy periods we have experienced throughout February. We can only hope that Mother Nature is kind and gives us lots of sunshine for the rest of the month so that the grapes still waiting to be harvested get ample time to ripen fully.

We have a wonderful group of new casual cellar hands who have joined us to help out at vintage and it’s great to see their happy, smiling faces around the place. Adam Eggins, our chief winemaker officially welcomed them with a BBQ get-together and talked them through what to expect for this vintage and importantly, how to stay safe and well for the 8 or 10 weeks until the end.Taylors Wines

Stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated on harvest and vintage progress monthly……

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