The 2023 vintage chardonnay grapes from our Singlefile vineyard were harvested by the first week of April. This reflects a late ripening season (most years the harvest is around 21st March). The grapes were in near perfect condition and met our yield expectations. We expect our winemaker will once again turn out wonderful wines similar in style to the last few years which produced well balanced chardonnay described as delicate but with complexity and power.
The three vintages of 2020, 2021 and 2022 were each influenced by cool, relatively wet seasons. In particular, the 2021 season at Singlefile experienced the highest rainfall since Singlefile’s establishment in 2007. The 2023 growing period was characterised by relatively mild spring and summer temperatures, resulting in a late start to flowering and late finish for ripening.
The entire vineyard benefitted from the ground application of liquid humus in addition to the normal application of foliar fertilisers. The objective of the nutrition program was to improve water retention, nutrient buffering (to maintain a stable pH) and to boost microbial activity. Our agronomist has observed, from the analysis of recent soil samples, that the “soil types present in these results would be considered the premium growing country of Australia”, supporting the production of wines of distinction.
The Singlefile vineyard is seeing the benefit of the improved canopy management implemented over the last five years, permitting better circulation and sunlight penetration with low disease pressure.
We continue to pursue our pruning program involving the progressive conversion of the chardonnay vines in the Lower Block on to double cordons. So far, this program has had the effect of significantly increasing the number of bunches per vine whilst avoiding crowding by separating them out along two cordon wires set apart both laterally and vertically. The advantage of less fruit crowding is increased air and sunlight penetration, minimising disease pressure.
We have observed that there were very few birds around the vineyard through the growing season. We presume this reflects the ample food source due to strong flowering of native trees and shrubs because of the good rain in recent years.
There was cool weather at the end of March. The early timing of Easter, with poor weather predicted for the following week, made it tricky to book in our pickers. However, there was a lucky reprieve when a few warm sunny days appeared the week before Easter, and our pickers agreed to pick the first block of chardonnay on the Sunday before the holidays, then the second block three days later.
The best part of vintage is assembling, with snips in hand, to reveal the fruit in the early morning light. The anxiety of planning the pick is put to rest as soon as the team gets to work.
Not forgetting the other variety grown at the Singlefile vineyard, the entire block of estate pinot noir was cane pruned last year. Bunches were both more plentiful and bigger than previous vintages, resulting in a significant improvement in tonnage. The vineyard has now reached a degree of maturity where we can expect it to achieve annual consistency.
We will soon enter the dormant period before the pruning cycle begins once more. Meanwhile we wait in anticipation to taste the first of the finished wines for 2023.