Our Harvest…

2004 – Shiraz and Chambourcin picked from our ‘Effen Hill’ Vineyard. This was a wet vintage that challenged the ‘die-hard’ pickers to hand-pick and transport all fruit from the vineyard (as it was too wet for tractors).

2005 was hot and dry with fruit ripened to perfection. The vineyard was nearly at full production with Shiraz, Merlot, Chambourcin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semilon, Verdelho and Chardonnay picked.

2006 has been a season of challenges. Due to the intense heat of January and February, together with no rain through December – January, the wines are higher in alcohol with more intense fruit flavours. Tipple’s Gold Botrytis Semillon was added to the list of wines and fruit quality was good enough to produce a Reserve Shiraz.

2007 was one of the most ideal vintages in years with perfect warm clear days and cooler nights allowing fantastic ripening and fruit flavours. Harvest commenced 3 weeks early and was completed by mid February. The drought ensured there was no disease pressure and the maturing vines coped extremely well. All wines are showing exceptional varietal character with intense fruit flavours…look out for the reds!!

2008 was a challenging vintage. Significant winter rain provided ideal soil moisture for a tremendous budburst. This was followed up with regular spring rain events and a warm October allowing vigourous growth along with uniform flowering and fruit set. Summer was mild and wet with harvesting of Pinot Gris commencing the last week of January. All whites were picked by the first week of February. The weather by this stage had become increasing challenging for ripening our reds and whilst most growers in the Hunter Valley were abandoning their crop we were able to pick all our reds free of any disease. Vintage came to end on 8th March with great quality Cabernet Sauvignon being picked.

2009 was well set up with good winter and spring rains. The heat of January 2009 was of concern but the maturing vines held up well. All whites were picked by the first week of February with Merlot safely in the winery on 11th February in the midst of a thunderstorm. The remaining reds were delayed due to a further 5 days of rain but by 7th March the Cabernet Sauvignon signalled the end of vintage. The resultant wines are all looking stunning with the Semillon and Shiraz standouts.

2010 budburst was even and began early during the 2nd and 3rd week of August. Despite little rain since early August the soil moisture levels were good. Ideal warm spring conditions saw good vigour, even fruit set and early Veraison. December and January were hot and dry with sugar levels high. All whites were picked between 23rd and 26th January. Despite high sugar levels in the reds at the same time the flavour profile was underdeveloped. A decision was made to ‘see out’ the 3 day rain event at the end of January and the resultant reds were harvested between 12th and 23rd February with lower sugar but fantastic colour and flavour profiles. The wines of 2010 look to be stunning.

2011 began well after a mild, wet winter. Budburst was even and fruit development uniform. Spring was mild with the heat begining in December and a week of 40 degree days during January. As usual, Pinot Gris was the first picked on 28 January and within the week all whites were safely in the winery with stunning flavours and perfect acid levels. The first week of February saw some showers and the reds took a little while to recover from the heat but some tremendous fruit was picked through the latter half of February with the Cabernet the last to come off at the beginning of March. Overall it was an excellent vintage with the whites a standout.

2012 saw an earlier budburst than 2011 (despite the cooler Winter). Rainfall was plentiful during Winter and early Spring. Summer never really eventuated with much cooler growing conditions into Summer (only a couple of days above 30 degrees). Disease pressure was immense whilst we patiently waited for the grapes to ripen. For the whites, natural acids were retained but flavour development was slow. A decision was made not to pick Pinot Gris and Viognier whilst Semillon, Chardonnay, Verdelho and Traminer were very good. Disease was under control in the reds (unlike much of the Valley), however, we decided not to pick Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Shiraz was lower in sugar and flavours to create a softer style. Chambourcin was the pick of the reds with great flavour development.

2013 budburst was mid to late August across the board due to the warmer bursts through that month. A drier than normal Spring saw the vines with a smaller canopy and although bunch numbers were similar to the past the bunch and berry size saw a much lighter cropping level. Disease pressure was considerably less than the previous 5 vintages. All the whites were picked before February with some rain around Australia Day slowing the process down slightly. Semillon was first together with Pinot Gris whilst Viognier was picked later as a sweeter style. February continued to be warm but wetter. Shiraz was first to be picked the second week of February but by the third week all reds were safely in the winery. It was an interesting vintage that saw cropping levels down between 30-50 percent. However, the quality is exceptional. Whites will be bottled during May and June whilst the reds will enjoy an additional 12 months in oak.

2014 will go down as one of the best vintages in the Hunter Valley. Some Winter rain and milder conditions allowed for an earlier buburst. Spring was hot but conditions became milder during the final stages of ripening with rain events occurring at critical stages. The resultant fruit was perfectly ripened and cropping levels had returned to a normal level. Both whites and reds are stunning.

2015 started with a later budburst due to a colder Winter in 2014. Spring was exceptionally dry reducing the crop slightly with the exception of Shiraz which was down 50 percent. Disease pressure mounted during the ripening period with consistent rain events but for those that placed extra attention into the vineyard survived these events and picked some excellent whites and some stunning reds. Some of our best Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon were harvested a little later than usual.