Walking through the vines of Riversdale Vineyard in Frankland River, where we source fruit for our Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Grenache
It is an exciting and busy time in the Great Southern as harvest begins in earnest. The most crucial decision for vignerons and winemakers is reflected in the importance of harvest: when to pick the fruit we have been carefully tending over the year! A slower ripening season in 2023 has meant that fruit has remained on the vine for a couple of weeks longer than usual to achieve the optimal balance between ripe fruit flavour and natural acidity. We have already picked pinot grigio, some chardonnay and Porongurup pinot noir; while riesling - usually the first variety to be picked - is only starting to come off the vine tonight.
Last week, our team attended a Harvest Field Trip exploring Riversdale Vineyard in Frankland River, Misery Hill Vineyard in Porongurup, and a winemaking tour, to learn more about where our fruit is grown, how harvest decisions are made, and how the fruit makes its way from the vine to the bottle and, eventually, to your table! We have shared some of our favourite moments with you here.
Cabernet Sauvignon ripening on the vine in Riversdale Vineyard
It was very exciting to see the shiraz and cabernet sauvignon fruit on the vines in Riversdale Vineyard, and amazing to be able to sample a few berries from the vine and already distinguish varietal characteristics. Shiraz tasted sweet, bold and juicy, while the cabernet had a distinct tannic astringency. The vineyard manager was able to show us the blocks where the fruit for our flagship red wine, 'The Philip Adrian', is picked.
After a couple of hours in the vineyard, our winemaking tour showed us the next part of the process - where the fruit is crushed, fermented, stored and finally bottled. The aromas of the free run juice and in the barrel room were incredible. We were able to sample some freshly pressed pinot grigio at the beginning of its fermentation and learn more about the winemaking process.
Singlefile barrels in the barrel room
The Great Southern is the largest wine region in the world, with the five sub-regions - Albany, Denmark, Mount Barker, Porongurup and Frankland River - supporting different styles and sub-regional expressions, from juicy and peppery shiraz in Frankland River, to pristine and delicate riesling in Porongurup. In the afternoon, we travelled to Misery Hill Vineyard in Porongurup, where we source fruit for our Limited Release 'The Pamela' riesling, and newly released Single Vineyard Porongurup Pinot Noir.
After a presentation from the vineyard manager, we enjoyed a long table lunch among the vines followed by a vineyard tour. Since visiting only a week ago and exploring the fruit on the vine, pinot noir has now been picked and riesling is almost ready. The differences in temperature and outlook were noticeable when compared to Riversdale in Frankland River.
Looking out over the vines of Misery Hill Vineyard in Porongurup
As picks continue and fruit makes its way to barrel and tank, it is exciting to anticipate what the finished product of all the hard work of harvest will be. We look forward to sharing a full vintage reflection with you after our picks are completed. So far, yields are a little low, but fruit quality is excellent.
The team enjoying lunch at Misery Hill Vineyard
Great thanks to Nic Duncan for her photographs which beautifully captured the day