We had an exciting start to the week, with the first crush of grapes at our new winery shed. The winery shed was built by Tyrrell’s (of the Hunter Valley) about twenty years ago. We bought the winery and its adjacent vineyards, both of which are next door to our Orchard block, and took over in April last year. And here we are making wine on site. This event called for Monday morning bubbles, to celebrate.
There’s Paul ‘Rowdy’ Matthews above, ‘handing over’ to Joch. Rowdy stayed and gave some expert advise on how the winery operates, which was fantastic. Rowdy ran the place for 17 years, so he has a good store of knowledge. Peter and Anthea Bosworth came along for the gala event, see below, and that’s Ian ‘the Bomb’ Adam looking both Country AND Western in the middle of them.
You can see Ian backing up the tractor and gondola of Pinot to the receival hopper below; this was the drum roll bit for us! Be careful Ian, remember to drive slowly, and no random cornering….
Quite a few locals popped their heads in to see what was going on – that’s contractor and grape grower Clint Ledgard on the left on BoB stalwart Spencer. Clint has helped out over the years – I’m never sure of how it all works, but I do see him working on the old UR harvester quite a bit. I do believe Clint was very helpful last night while picking the Semillon, Spencer? Something about not enough diesel for the tractor pulling the harvester?! Thanks Clint.
Book keeper Leonie always likes to know what’s going on about the place, she came along to check on proceedings and to help celebrate. She had a few helpful tips about operations, too – there’s almost nothing Leonie does not know, across all disciplines.
So….from the gondola into the pristine, almost virginal receival hopper with the augur thing…. (technical stuff is not my specialty). Look how clean it is! Well done Nairn.
Then up the conveyor thing to be gently crushed (we treat the Pinot with kid gloves to preserve those light cherry and strawberry flavours)
Through some red hoses….on their way…
…into the fermenting vessel. Hoorah, well done guys, first ever ferment ready to start at our place. A very exciting Monday morning.
Well done Nairn – the man in charge of the winery.
As an aside, we also hand-picked about 30% of our Pinot into these flex cube thingummies below, so they can undergo some ‘carbonic maceration’. This process (the grapes ferment from within – they don’t go through the crusher) help keep tannins soft and approachable. This ‘cab mac’ component will be blended back to the Pinot grapes which underwent more traditional process, see above.
In other news, I had to cancel my trip back to the UK to (wo)man the stand at our UK importers annual tasting, Bibendum Wines ‘A Matter of Taste’. Our guinea pig, Snowball could have told me that a netball comeback in one’s mid 40’s probably wasn’t going to be sustainable in the long term, but I insisted and ended up with a fractured ankle. Ouch. I managed to draft in a wine savvy friend of an old university mate of mine to stand in and pour the wines and talk the talk. Jim Carey (look at the spelling!) actually visited the vineyards before Christmas on a wine and rellie visiting tour of OZ with his Australian partner. Sadly both Joch and I missed him here at the vineyards, but many thanks for being such a hardworking and dedicated extended member of the BoB staff. My old Uni mate Chaz apparently turned up for the glory at the end of what is a very long days tasting. Thanks Chazzie and many thanks Jim.
Finally, from a work health and safety perspective, at long last we have proper signage on the dunny up at cellar door! Thanks Spencer for supplying and applying – much more professional than the chalk.