2018: An Excellent Chardonnay Vintage in Margaret River
The Winery has been a bustling hub of activity as we steadily progress through vintage of the white varieties.
In late February, we picked the last of the Home Vineyard Chardonnay, with some fruit still to come from our Gnarawary and Karridale vineyards. Although yields have been down, the quality of Chardonnay has been exceptional this year, with the combination of slightly higher sugar and strong acidity promising to deliver wines of power.
Harvest of the white varieties continues as we shift our focus to our southern Margaret River vineyards. It appears that we will have quite a traditional transition from white to red varieties this year (no cross-over), with harvest of our red varieties likely to commence in a few weeks and continue well into April given the mild summer we have experienced.
Behind-the-scenes of vintage at Vasse Felix by Estate Sommelier, Evan
It has certainly been an experience for me, moving from one end of the Vasse Felix wine spectrum to the other. A typical day as Estate Sommelier involves analyzing, deconstructing and discussing Vasse Felix wines with Estate guests. In the winery however, the 12 hour day can involve anything from receiving and crushing fruit, transferring juice and taking ferment samples, to driving forklifts, washing barrels and becoming very closely acquainted with lees!
Although the pressure to get things right in the winery feels a lot higher, our ‘less is more’ approach works wonders, and a lot of the time, tiny tweaks and finessing is all that’s required to allow the natural beauty of the fruit characters to shine through.
Working closely with our core winery crew, in particular Chief Winemaker Virginia Willcock and Senior Winemaker Mick Langridge, has allowed me to better understand and appreciate the complex processes that contribute to the final quality and style of our wines.
Experiencing the feel of a Vintage one day a week (without the drawback of a 72hr work week!) has been fantastic - the atmosphere reminds me of the Gourmet Escape or Easter period as experienced in the Estate Building. The upbeat spirit of the entire crew (a mixture of Americans, Canadians, Germans and Australians), the coffee and the winery’s music selection make vintage life all the sweeter!