Vineyard | Winery Update Nov 2021

On Thursday 28thof October 2021,

We experienced one of the most severe and concentrated hail storms the Barossa Valley has seen for more than a decade. We knew a storm was approaching and due to the hot and humid conditions I kind of felt that this was going to be no normal storm. Unfortunately, the hot conditions created the perfect updraft for the formation of hail. As Ben and I stood on the deck to watch the storm approach, we were backed into the fatherest corner just to stay dry. The rain was intense and quickly followed by hail the size of 5 cent piece. Soon after hail the size of 20 and 50cent pieces fell and the gutters just didn’t cope. All good intentions of watching a storm approach left us wet and shaken like some form of blast concussion.

The fall out of 15 minutes of rain and hail left us with 40-50% broken and damaged fruit upon initial inspection. Many new bunches that hadn’t yet flowered were on the ground and simply the best way to explain what was left, looked like mother nature used a shotgun and garden hedger at the same time whilst drunk on Seabrook Rose.

To add insult to injury, the sun came out shortly after as if nothing had just transpired. It was hot and humid so I decided to venture out and see the damage. A sense of dread and sadness came over me as I inspected the damage. Just to make sure we heard the message Mother Nature was sending loud and clear we were hit with another freak weather event. That same afternoon around 5pm we were battered by 90KM winds that just made sure that any shoots that had a chance were completely written off.

Now I know this all sounds very depressing and self-deprecating however there are a few silver linings that have come out of this weather. The first is not all is lost. We will have enough fruit to make a go of Vintage 2022 and by all accounts there is no reason why it won’t be a great vintage. Some of the best vintages are borne out of some form of adversity. The second is, we have taken stock of our situation and decided to focus on vine rejuvenation for next year. We will be reworking the tops of the Cabernet in front of the cellar door. It will certainly look drastic but will be the best thing for the vines and for the future of the Founder Cabernet Sauvignon.

It’s a terrible thing to happen but one must remember this is spring, and Spring can be responsible for some of the most volatile weather throughout the year and this is farming. Our hearts go out to all the other vineyards that were affected. Especially our neighbours either side of us who similarly were smashed by the hail.

Winery Update – Coming soon

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the winery blending up wines in prep for bottling. This involves emptying all the wine out of barrels into a big tank, mixing the wine and then putting back into barrel. This helps homogenise the wines as well gives me an opportunity to see how the wines are progressing. I’m essentially looking to see the development of tannins and flavour in the wines and am trying to shed that very primary element that young wines can display. Our next bottling that will happen is the 2020 Montepulciano and the 2021 Mataro.

The 2020 Montepulciano will not disappoint. If you loved the 2018 vintage (our last vintage we sold due to no fruit available in 2019) you will love this wine. Its colour is black as guts. The aroma is of black forest fruits that are dense and brooding. Aromas of black bean, olive tapenade and rusty tractors swarm the wine. Once tasted the wine opens up in and tarry black and concentrated fruit profile of black bean and Chinese five spice. It has a succulent chalky tannin profile that gives the wine a savoury feel. This is a great wine to match with a dish that perhaps is slow cooked with a good fat score such as beef cheeks or an Ossobuco. Alternatively, one of my favourite matches is with Spaghetti alla punttanesca.

The 2021 Mataro is quite the opposite of the Montepulciano. It has a wild aroma of fresh cherry fruits with hints of glazed dried fruits. Lifted and aromatic this is a lighter style red wine made in a similar style to the wines of Provence France. The palate is abundant in bright cherry fruits and ripe satsuma plums. A soft acidity and light fruit tannin give rise to a perfectly balanced and poised wine. This is a great wine for matching with a roast chicken tagine with apricots olives or simply with a nice slice of Chevre or Brie on a Friday night after work enjoying the summer evenings.

Look out for the wines which will be coming soon.