And… they’re off!

Wine / Wednesday, February 21st, 2024
Last week, I said I’d have some news of harvest for you in the “a matter of weeks”.
As a matter of fact, I have news this very week!
While many vineyards around the hills have been picking for a week or so now, Vintage 2024 will officially start for Somerled on Saturday.
Here is this morning’s update from Rob…
Things are nearly under way with pinot noir for Rosé the first to come off.
There’ll be a very small amount from Alister McMichael’s vineyard. We’ve been getting some of Alister’s beautiful Chardonnay fruit for the last couple of vintages due to continued lower than expected yields throughout the Hills. It’s great that we can get some pinot from him this year as well. Kim Anderson will be hand picking the rest of our pinot on Saturday. We will process both of those parcels of grapes together using whole bunch pressing to keep it nice and delicate.
Rob unfortunately confirmed what I’ve been predicting (thanks to the information provided by the weekly CropWatch reports) all vintage… yields will definitely be low again this season. Bunches are small and there is the ongoing issue of hen and chicken
He’s also expecting low extraction rates (that’s the term for the amount of juice you’re able to get out of 1 tonne of grapes). That’s because, with hand picking, all the stalks are included in the tonnage (when you machine pick, grapes are shaken off the stems, so they’re not included when the bins are weighed). Rob said, in the past they would normally allow 10% of the weight of a load being stalk. This year, that’s more likely to be up around 20% (again because of the small bunches and prevalence of hen and chicken). 
So it’s a bit of a double whammy! My suggestion is that if you love our Rosé, get in quick when the 2024 vintage is released! It’s not going to last for long! (Don’t worry, I’ll remind of that when the time comes!)
As for the other varieties:
Rob reports that Pinot Noir for sparkling won’t be far away, especially with this terrific ripening weather we’re currently experiencing.
Chardonnay is still a week or two away, as is the Sauvignon Blanc.
Rob also happily confirms that despite the rainy weather earlier, there’s no disease at all showing up so far. Let’s hope that continues!!

A snippet from CropWatch

In last week’s update, results from berry sampling and testing around the region were reported. It was found that:
  • Sauvignon Blanc at Lenswood is currently 0.5 Baumé (Bé) ahead of Macclesfield.
  • Sauvignon Blanc at Lenswood is currently 3-4 weeks ahead of last season and 3 weeks ahead of Macclesfield.
  • Pinot Noir at Lenswood is currently 4 weeks ahead of Vintage 23.
  • Shiraz at Macclesfield is one week ahead of Vintage 23.

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Anyway, there will be a bottle of it in your March Jockey Club packs. If you’ve been missing it, make sure to add a couple more bottles to your order. You can also shoot me an email and put away a stash for you!

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