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Vintage is Coming (it is actually already here)

Ginscatos and Croquet on the lawn

We had a great time at the inaugural SummerVines Festival which ran in McLaren Vale from the 19th to the 29th January. We joined in the fun with our Ginscatos and Croquet on the lawn event, which we ran on the 21st. Louise made finger sandwiches that the local branch of the CWA would surely have scored highly at the local agricultural show?!

What started as a gentle game of croquet soon became a very competitive championship event, with the final being fought out by an old friend of Louise’s, Mark and his off-sider, and a couple of Mt Barker Pony club mums. The ladies came from behind for a convincing win. We will do this event again!


Now that COVID is behind us (I hope I don’t jinx this) we are getting lots of visitors, which is terrific. Darryl and Darlene came down from Darwin to have a quick taste and tour. They run Thomas Chin which sells our wine in the top end.

Shunji Bai from Vai and Fellows (and son Kotaro) visited us from Japan.  Shunji has been selling our wines over there for over 10 years, and we haven’t seen him since well before Covid. We gave them a vineyard tour, a trip to the winery to test the beaumé of the Pinot Noir and then a tasting and lunch on the verandah.

Louise forgot that it was Valentine’s Day so local restaurants were booked out for romantic dining, but we managed to source luncheon from some of our Willunga venues, namely De Rose Kitchen, The Green Room and the Willunga General Store.

We also managed to find a kangaroo for Kotaro to see, and as youngest he was the one who foot trod the Pinot Noir so that we could test the sugars.

Willunga Wander

If you enjoy walking, wine tasting and beer then Willunga Wander is for you. Willunga Wander is a self-guided walking trail around historic Willunga, the best-looking township within the McLaren Vale wine region. We have teamed up with Hither and Yon Wines on High Street, Willunga and the Shifty Lizard Brewery who are little bit further up. As part of the $35.00 pp cost, you will have 3 guided tastings (one at each venue) and take home a branded Plum wine glass and have a look around our neck of the woods, to boot. More details to be found here – bookings will be made through Hither and Yon’s booking system, so don’t be alarmed, it’s not a scam!

Bali Nuptials

Our Danielle ‘Bullet’ Bayard from cellar door and Darren ‘Bud’ Arnold tied the knot in Bali just after Christmas. as well as working in cellar door 9and a few other side hustles), Danielle helps me by proof reading my copy. She sent this gorgeous photo back in an email with some proof read material. I know a hint when I get one. What a gorgeous bride (and groom)! Congratulations both of you.

Social media sensation

Who would have thought it? Joch – a social media sensation!! A simple video of Joch demonstrating use of the ‘crimper’ – a tool which he borrowed from friend and neighbour Ben Lacey, has gone viral: 66 thousand views at last count. Breathtaking. (It’s the middle photo, to the left of the blue tractor…)

Joch reckoned it was tractor dealers all round the world tuning in, but we don’t think so. It’s hard sometimes to understand the algorithms in the social media world, isn’t it? For those interested, normally we slash our cover crop (which is planted to add nitrogen to the soil) and the stems just blow away, but the crimper mushes/ mulches the cover crop (we use triticale – a hybrid of rye and wheat) back into the soil. Still awake?

Nets On

It’s that time again. We see the nets being laid out around the Orchard Chardonnay, Ding’s Block Shiraz and the Hill Shiraz and we know we are heading directly for vintage, or harvest.

A posse of starlings winging around the place sounds the alarm bells ringing even louder, and lets us know that sugars in the grapes are rising. Starlings love grapes, but we don’t like starlings liking grapes, so we put nets over the vineyard blocks near the hills, where they seem to appear. They are marauding aerial pirates that come and cause mayhem and destruction. In the old days the boys would use a drone to scare the starlings off, but this involved too much beer apparently and wasn’t terribly effective.

PS update, we have picked Chardonnay, Semillon and a blend of Red Frontignac (Which we use to make the Moscato), Chardonnay and SB which is currently fermenting on their skins – for an exciting release later in the year!


Suns Out, Bins Out

Another sign that harvest or #V2023 is just around the corner is when we see James (AKA Woody) getting the metal bins out to wash down prior to picking (and we also use them to ferment in as well – they are terrific small open fermenters).

Vintage is coming…. (it is here!!!)

Truck stop

Joch’s big truck comes out of hibernation, too as vintage draws near. Joch loves his truck. We take most of our whites (Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and some Chardonnay) to be made at a local contract facility using this truck, as we don’t have the refrigeration capacity to keep the ferments nice and cool. Cool ferments for the white varietals means that we can protect their delicate aromatics and ensure they are not lost. We do make our Bosworth Chardonnay here at the winery as it is 100% barrel fermented.

New wine 

We have just released the 2022 Battle of Bosworth Chardonnay (one of Joch’s favourite children) and it has come with a super review from Ned Goodwin MW who reviews for the Halliday Wine Companion. He calls it a classy chard (I’m paraphrasing) and describes the lovely combination of flavours which make this chardonnay so good – cashew, peaches and nougat on the nose all bound up with lovely French oak and vibrant acidity, Ned gave it 92 points, onya Ned! Find out more about this wine by clicking here .


It feels a bit like Narnia when the White Witch loses her power and the snow starts to melt  – Covid must surely be over if Tim Wildman MW turns up on your doorstep promising that his James busby Travel tour group will be back in town in November.  Tim has spent the last 12 years (-2 because of COVID) finding international wine trade, educators and associated wine industry types and bringing them Down Under for an intensive 2 week tour of the regions to discover Australian wine. By the sword of Aslan!

To Be continued: The vintage #2023 story