In a word, wet. Another word, bloody. Bloody wet sums it up nicely actually.
The vines are as happy as pigs in muck, the Vineyard team not so much...
With over 50 times more winter rain than last year so far, and more days of rain than not, pruning was an absolute nightmare to finish. There is a very specific window in which to prune – it begins after the first serious frost when the sap is no longer flowing, and ends when the sap starts to move again, and the buds start to swell. Conditions have to be right too – if the vine is wet, disease can enter the vine where it’s cut, so no pruning in the rain or immediately after it. Somehow the team managed to finish the job before bud swell.
And still the rain came...
The next challenge was to get on the vineyard to look after the vines without getting bogged and stuck there for a week. Slashing the rows, managing the under-vine, and most importantly getting the sprays on to protect the vines from disease has been a struggle – not least because the minute it dried up, the wind started blowing which renders a spray useless... poor Paul ended up working nights to get the job done.
These last 2 weeks we’ve enjoyed the most glorious spring weather, with cool nights and brilliant sunshine. Latest forecasts are for rainfall to normalise, which would be the most tremendous result for the quality of the vintage, to say nothing of the sanity of the team. The vines are set up to withstand any stress, harvest should be at a more normal time of year – mid February vs end of January and Mudgee has never looked more beautiful at this time of year. Everything is so lush and verdant, which of course leads to endless mowing...
Happy vines make happy wine. And happy wines make a happy winemaker.So it was with the 2016 Vintage just finished.In one of my recent Ravings I may have given the wrong impression that I wasn’t happy when I moaned about all of the hurdles in front of us poor vignerons; from droughts to floods, frosts to heatwaves. [...]
Vignerons do not have a natural inclination towards optimism, and I’ll tell you why.It starts in winter each when pruners brave freezing cold and bitter winds to prune the dormant vines. It takes many months and is always a race to beat Spring’s wake-up call for the sleeping vineThen comes budburst, when the vine starts [...]
You would all be well aware by now that Huntington Estate does not follow fashions nor does it chase fads. For instance we warned against Justin Bieber then said the same about One Direction, we said it would end in tears. I said the same about The Beatles. Haha, told you so. It all started back [...]
Alcohol abuse is a scourge. It destroys lives and comes at a huge economic and social cost. Taxation is a good way to discourage abuse, just like with cigarettes right? Well not with the current system.While I’m sure there are a couple of billionaires rotting their livers with three bottles of Grange a day, and [...]
Dear Aunt Wine Agony,I have a particular grievance that may be ruining my life. It prevents me from enjoying dinner parties and I am even afraid to invite friends around for drinks anymore. I am a social outcast, desolated by blandness.In short, the wines I see lately in bottle shops are overpriced, overhyped and just plain boring. The Wine World seems [...]
Tannin is a strange beast, it is responsible not just for astringency and grip but also helps a red wine feel smooth and even sweet. The fact that one element can be responsible for both bitterness and silkiness is one of the most beguiling aspects of making wine.Mudgee – and Huntington Estate in particular – has some of the best, most [...]
Enough already of my ravings, it's time instead to tell you all about what we’re doing at Huntington Estate. I promise I’ll get good and riled up in the next newsletter but I have so much good stuff to tell you now.Winter pruning is finished. We’re largely doing it in house this year and it’s [...]
I want to “talk” about wine bottles. Thrilling I know. Why? They are no more or less than a means to get wine to you, and for you to store it. Well exactly. Confused? Bear with me for just a minute longer.A recent conversation with a wine distributor triggered this column; the gentleman in question [...]
As another year passes, I feel moved once again to write (not rave – I fear I may be mellowing…) in praise of age. Isn’t one of the perks of getting older the license to repeat yourself? I love a good aged wine and good ageing style wines, and I love making them. Using time [...]