• Loddon Herald

Vineyards set for corker

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

LODDON vineyards are swinging into vintage 2021 with

expectations high for quality and yield.

At Turners Crossing, the first grapes were picked last week.

Sales director Chris McCormack said the first fruit off vines was mostly white grape varieties viognier and picolit and some cabernet sauvignon for use in the 2020 rose.

“The cooler weather has certainly slowed things a little after what initially appeared to be a fast ripening and short harvest period,” he said.

“We expect we will be in full swing at Serpentine within the next 10 days for the remaining cabernet sauvignon and shiraz.

“Early estimates are promising for a large and quality yield, aided by the relatively wet spring and cool but dry summer.

“This has resulted in strong vine vigour and bountiful fruit production, so fingers crossed it will all come together nicely and this time next year we will be reflecting on one of the few great things to come out of the last 12 months!”

Vintage started at Bridge-water’s Black Wallaby Wines at the weekend when 50 people were part of the annual picking party of friends, neighbours and family.

“This year we were blessed with the weather as it wasn’t too hot. We picked four tonnes of shiraz fruit that will be used to make the 2021 Ruby Rose, Joey Shiraz and Estate Shiraz,” said Jayne Lawson

“The season so far has been one of the best with the cooler temperatures throughout summer and the rain earlier in the season.

“Due to the cooler summer, the ripening process has been much slower which allows the berries to retain their flavours and natural acidity.

“This results in more balanced fruit concentration. The roll on effect of this means that very little to no intervention is needed once the fruit hits the winery for the production of the final product.”

Jayne said the big picks would happen in the next three weeks, with a machine harvester taking off fruit that would be sold to wineries in Victoria, NSW and the Barossa Valley.

“Vintage is always such a very busy and exciting time of the year,” she said.

“It is always a relief to watch the fruit drive out the gate on the trucks and know that another year of labor and love has paid off.”

Andrew Simpson, of Newbridge Winery, said the season had been very good, aided by the cooler summer.

He said the growing season had been a little extended on previous years and the right amount of rain had come at ideal times.

“The quality is great and it looks like being a heavy crop,” Andrew said ahead of his picking that will start this week.

“Hopefully, what we pick should make some great wines from what has been a very promising season in contrast to the previous season’s terrible growing conditions.

Newbridge Winery has three acres planted with shiraz grapes and two acres with fiano, a southern Italian variety.

Andrew said his greatest challenge was securing professional pickers this year.

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