Yes, we have started. On 11 February we inaugurated the new winery with the arrival of our Pinot Gris. The grapes arrived in pristine condition and have been given a bit of skin contact in order to add texture and structure to the wine. Pinot Gris responds well to extended skin contact and we are thrilled with the acid and sugar levels. The juice will begin fermenting soon and the fermentation temperature will be kept cool in order to retain the lovely fruit flavours
All hands were on deck during the processing of the grapes and Stu, Helen and Joey were all busy with cleaning and crushing on the day. Stu has been kept very busy getting the winery up and running and managed to have everything in place for the big day. He is now splitting his time between the winery and the vineyard, where he is closely monitoring the progress of the Pinot noir for our Alena range. He expects this should come in early next week and we were all very happy with the beautiful floral character the grapes have developed and the bright, fresh acidity.
Summer seems to have been relatively cool and we are thankful that we haven’t had too many hot spells. The mild weather has allowed the grapes to ripen slowly which means we aren’t dealing with grapes with potentially high alcohols. The coolish conditions have meant the flavours were allowed to ripen and not just the sugars. One of the standout features of the 2015 vintage is the retention of acid in the grapes. We look set to be on track for a cracking year. The warm weather over the next few days means the Alena Pinot noir can finish off its ripening.
Stu will be making an Inara Rosé this year. He is using some of the Merlot grapes as they have the necessary bright red fruit character and a savoury note that makes for great rosé. Rosé is made in a similar manner to white wine but the red grape skins are kept in contact with the juice for a period of time prior to pressing and fermentation. This means we can extract the colour we want for the pink wine. So if you are lucky enough to be in the Yarra Valley over the next few weeks, remember to watch out for all the activity. It really is the most beautiful time of the year with those cool starts to the day sometimes shrouding the beautiful valley in fog.
Sitting high on the hill (on our newly built deck) we are in the perfect position, so make sure you visit us as soon as our cellar door is open. We will keep you posted about the imminent opening.