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Vintage Report 2020

Ask anyone around the Yarra Valley and they will tell you, “Normal vintages do not exist anymore!” Twenty-twenty certainly lived up to this. There is no reference point. Varieties ripened out of sequence. Weather was all over the shop with no rhyme or reason. Significant weather events occurred at inopportune times. Challenges were legion.

In the end we have picked under half the volume of grapes that we would normally project. A combination of unstable weather at flowering, disease pressure in one of the Chardonnay blocks, and our own decisions to accelerate some replanting each added a part to the end result.

Given all that has been going on we don’t feel like we have so much to complain about. Our crop losses have been relatively benign. There are reports of yields being down by more than 80%. We haven’t, as others have, lost vineyards to fire or lost the whole vintage to smoke or disease. We will prevail.


First pick was on March 2nd. It all started with Pinot Gris followed by Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc on the 3rd of March. Merlot for Rosé and Chardonnay followed on the 12th of March, Pinot Noir and Shiraz on the 16th. The last week of March was spent harvesting small amounts of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon for Wayward Child red wine

The first two weeks of April brought on the harvest of the remaining grapes for dry red wine production, all for our most premium labels, followed shortly thereafter by later harvest grapes for sweet wine production. Last pick occurred on Tuesday April 28th. A very small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon was left hanging to be added to the Bastion sweet fortified wine blend.

With all that is going on, the last of the picks were done entirely by the full-time crew at Helen and Joey. The silver lining in all of this is that we all got to hang out together in the vineyard. That, after all, is where all of the magic is.


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