We have had a busy time as usual over vintage 2016.The vines were well set up for a good harvest with intermitant summer rain , but plenty of warmth to dry them quickly. As usual everything was hand picked , so early morning starts before the heat set in. We had a great team with Bim who works here full time,Simon from Sydney who is studying wine science and has been here for a few vintages now,  2 great wwoofers from Sydney Della and Greta, and Michael & Therese who are locals who have worked for me in the vineyard pruning and picking for more than 15 years.

2016-02-03 001 2016-02-03 0412016-02-03 001 2016-02-03 037

We allowed the grapes to ferment naturally without any yeast additions. All the wines have finished their primary fermentation and are now settling.

IMG_1340

2016-04-03 001 2016-03-03 001

There is always plenty of socialising during the harvest season , and this year was no exception. We had a great Harvest blessing celebration with foot stomping of some grapes ,which coloured up a lot of people’s feet!! I also released the newly bottled Chardonnay 2015, Rose 2015, Bald Hill 2014 (grenache,mourvedre, shiraz blend) and finally have a new Rockdell 2014(shiraz, mourvedre grenache blend) This is our reserve blend and only gets a run if it is up to scratch, and this one certainly is.

2016-04-03 001 2016-02-29 0052016-04-03 001 2016-02-29 0042016-04-03 001 2016-02-29 0022016-04-03 001 2016-02-29 001

They vines are shooting after a later than usual bud burst.It was a long dry winter ,but we have seen good rain this month to get things moving.We have had 4 WWOOFers(willing workers on organic farms) over winter pruning and doing some major renovations to the vineyard.They live with me during their stay so it can get a bit rowdy ! All good fun,although I don’t know that they enjoyed the severe water restrictions we had to endure through winter as due to some serious cracks in water lines we lost about 100,000 liters of precious rain water!!
We have started the bottling for the year and now have our 2014 Rose in bottle ,made from Grenache grapes it is soft salmon in colour and has a fresh floral aroma with a clean crisp finish.
We also have bottled the Cabernets, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes.It has ripe berry aromas from the Cab Sav and floral overtones from the Cab Franc with subtle oak. It has a rich full palate with well integrated tanins to give a lingering finish.
Hopefully the long awaited for Late Harvest Semillon and Rockdell(grenache, mataro ,tempraniollo blend) will be available for Christmas.
Christmas party bookings are coming in ,so there will be a busy time ahead.
The Winery Cottage is proving a popular addition to the farm,with guests most weekends and school holidays.
The OLIVE trees look the best they have for a long time and we have had no serious frosts ,so looking forward to a good harvest.
The sheep spent most of the winter in the vineyard lambing and the cows are calving , while the steers pile on the weight.A
All in all a good start to the growing season here.

Spring has been a mixed bag this year with devastating frosts in late October ,wiping out our chardonnay,shiraz and semillon.The vines have been burnt back to twigs( see pic).We are busy getting the reds from 2012 ready to bottle in the new year, just need to work out the final blends! Will it be Cab Sav/Car Franc blended or stand alone,what about a Shiraz/Grenache blend or to add some Tempranillo ?So lots of tasting going on.Nadja my winemaking daughter returns this month from Bordeaux , so am thinking she will be useful with decision making.It has settled into long hot days with very little rain, which means good disease control ,but a lot of irritation with irrigation!!
Meanwhile the winery is the venue for a lot of entertaining, post wedding brunches,and now the Christmas parties are running thick and fast.
The Winery cottage is busy most weekends and can sleep 8 adults comfortably.Vintage is promising to be early this year probably Feb, March and into April, so to avoid disappointment do book soon if you wish to join in with picking and winemaking.
Enjoy the holiday season, and all the very best for the New year.
The annual canowindra@home 100 MILE LONG LUNCH will be held at the Age of Fishes Museum again this coming year and bookings will be taken from Feb 10th at www.canowindraathome.org.au or by phoning Margaret 63447153 for eft details.

DEVESTATING FROST DAMAGE

DEVESTATING FROST DAMAGE

GREAT SPOT FOR A PARTY

GREAT SPOT FOR A PARTY

2013-10-26 12.14.24
The Winery Cottage

The Winery Cottage

winery lunch

The renovations to our pise cottage(rammed earth) have been completed and we are enjoying having guests staying most weekends.It has 3 large bedrooms, two sleeping 3 and one double, so 8 adults can be accommodated comfortably.There are 2bathrooms and laundry facilities.2013-10-24 13.13.222013-10-24 13.13.422013-10-24 13.12.012013-10-24 13.11.382013-10-24 13.15.432013-10-24 13.20.422013-10-24 13.12.48
Please contact Margaret re bookings on 0427936054 or email wallingtonwines@gmail.com

I’ve uploaded a lot of new photos to both photo sites, so have a look!!

AUTUMN /VINTAGE

We are about to bottle this year’s Rose and Chardonnay, I don’t know where the months have gone.We had a diminished harvest due to excessive rain, but were able to get some great quality fruit none the less. Hand picking makes all the difference as you can be very selective of the grapes you want.This year we were joined by Edel and Rachael, Irish wwoofers(illing workers on organic farms),who enjoyed the first hand experience of wine making!, being more used to consuming Guiness and Wiskey! The reds will need another 12 month’s maturation ,so they’ll be out this time next year, there is a 2010 Shiraz in the bottling line to be sorted soon.

April is always a frantic time of year with out of house activities.Canowindra is host to the 100 Mile Dinner annually(4th one this year)where 300 guests are seated in Canowindra’s main street and enjoy  meals created by talented local chefs and local wines from Canowindra,Orange, Bathurst, Mudgee and Cowra,This is always accompanied by a great band so guests and volunteer staff can dance the night away!!It’s a great night, where local pubs and guest houses join in the merryment hosting dinners on their balconies overlooking the main event .On top of that we also host the National Ballooning Championships which includes a spectacular evening with a balloon glow,where we cater for a hungry and thirsty  7,000 visitors this year.

WINTER

Pruning, pruning and more pruning ,with 35000 vines to look after ,we need 3 months solid effort in the vineyard, to set the vines up for next season.We again were lucky to have some great wwoofers ,Horge(chile),Nico(France), Mat(Sweden) and Jasper(Sweeden) join us .

In the winery wines are checked analysed etc .We have basically sold out of our wines ,so have not had cellar door open for a while.

We have also commenced a massive renovation of the original pise house  on the farm.There are 3 rooms remaining built from mud and wattle about 1890, and various additions from over the century.This will be available for Farm Stays next year ,having 3 very large bedrooms sleeping 9 comfortably ,lounge room, dining room ,kitchen and 2 bathrooms.It has beautiful views over the farm and further to the Lachlan Valley and Kangaroobie Ranges in the distance.

SPRING

Spring came late this year,about 3 weeks late!! Bud burst normally occurs very early September but didn’t start until 24th Sept in the early varieties.This was just as well ,as we did have a spate of frosts through early October .More wwoofers have joined us Susie, Karen and Nico from Germany and Alex from France.They have been kept busy in the vineyard chipping ,dropping wires etc,they have also developed skills with the paint brush up at the house renovation site.

We enjoyed participating in the local Spring Twilight market, on a balmy spring evening with great wine, food and music.We served Trunky Creek(local free range pig farm and butcher) Spanish sausages and as I have not much wine to sell mad good use of cleanskins I have to make sangria,which was a great combination!!

In the winery ,we are busily getting ready for bottling and looking forward to opening the Cellar door, when I have some wine to sell.I do have cleanskin dry red if anyone is interested and also a lot of empty wine barrels for $60 if you can pick them up.I’ll be having a launch of the new wines early December,so stay posted.

AROUND THE FARM

Our dorper (shed their wool) sheep are expanding in numbers ,and they are proving to be great in the vineyard over winter ,fertilising and keeping the weeds at bay.We have embarked on an improvement plan using sustainable farming practices to nurture the soils and environment.

The angus cattle are enjoying a lush spring ,so are growing well.

The 10kw solar panel array is doing a great job producing much more power than we use so is paying for itself.

Salami making

Salami making

A few local wine makers and foodie friends got together on the weekend to try their hand at Salami making.Thanks to our expert Italian friend Tony and Graham we managed to put together 3 different styles .Tasting will be held in a month or so ,and then hopefully some cheese making too.

Graham Kerr our host , local winemaker and balloonist , has entered some of his salamis in the small goods smackdown so we all have our fingers crossed for his success .

Wine Industry Smallgoods Smackdown

Born from a love of all things dead animal, the Wine Industry Smallgoods Smackdown is a smallgoods challenge for winemakers who play with meat. The competition – to decide who has the best tasting smallgoods. Wine bon vivants Mike Bennie and Dave Brookes are co-founders and co-Chair of Judges for this most prestigious of competitions. All winemakers who cure, cook, dehydrate, spice, pummel, puree, hang or smoke are eligible to enter their meat goods. Follow the Wine Industry Smallgoods Smackdown on Twitter at #WISS. Get in touch via twitter @mikerism101 and @vino_freakism for more details, or leave a comment on this site… FLASH – Judgement day is 02SEP11 to be held at Artisans of the Barossa cellar door – all entries to be submitted the week before!

You have to say for a small country town ,there is a lot going on here!!

Sat 22nd October canowindra@home Twilight Market, to be held in Memorial Park 4:30 to 7:30 pm. The best of the region’s food, wine and music for the family and friends.

Monday 16th April 2012, 4th 100 Mile Dinner in Canowindra’s main street 6pm.Food ,Wine and Music for the Central Ranges( Canowindra, Orange ,Mudgee, Bathurst ,Cowra) preparde by some of he regions geatest chefs and winemakers.

Winter is all but over.We have had our share of cold weather, but not quite what we would like in the rainfall department,we are hard to please!!

The Vineyard and Olive Grove ,70 ha now have full Biodynamic certification so feeling quite a sense of achievement. The rest of the farm,330 ha, should follow next year.

The wines are slowly maturing , they’ll spend another 12 months in oak. We have 2 blends , a cab sav/cab franc/petit verdot and a grenache/mourvedre , so looking forward see how they come up.

The olive oil is resting to drop solids to the bottom of the tanks, ready for bottling in the spring.

Olive Harvest the hard way

olive harvest for pickling the hard way

Olive harvest the easy way

Olive harvest the easy way for oil

Antoine and Niels pruning

Best of all PRUNING is over!.We have had the help of several backpackers/woofers that really got things done.They were great once they were in the vineyard ,getting them out of bed before midday was a bit of a challenge!

The boys van blew up!!

We have also pulled out 3ha of chardonnay, don’t worry we still have 4ha left, so the chardonnay will continue.We are exploring what to replace it with .

As part of the whole farm plan we have bought some Dorper sheep, they are a sheep bred for meat and shed their wool ,so no need to shear and also not as likely to get fly strike etc, so for organic farmers they have an advantage.They have been in the vineyard for winter eating the weeds and fertilising, dual purpose.They have also been lambing so there are cute lambs in abundance as they have a lot of twins and triplets!!We be sending the sheep around the farm following the cattle as they’ll eat species of vegetation the cattle won’t, so that helps with balance in the pasture.

the array of solar panels

happy mum with triplets

Another important addition to the farm has been a 10kw solar array, consisting of 168 ground mounted solar panels,producing more power than we will ever use .

August has seen the release of 2 NEW WINES, a Sauvignon Blanc 2011, made from grapes sourced in the Orange area , this is a fresh clean wine with a hint of gooseberry,great drinking in the warmer months ahead. Also a Cabernet Merlot blended red wine, which has a rich broad palate and long finish with sweet berry flavours. The Cervantes, methode champenoise, pinot noir has developed beautifully,drinking better at every tasting! Stocks are getting down on that .

The girls are all getting on with their varied lives.Nadja, my winemaking daughter is having a great experience in California, working at Mary Edwards Winery in the Russian River area.She doesn’t seem to have any plans to come home in the near future but when she does she’ll have gained a wealth of experience .Isabella is working in Canberra using her Anthropology degree with the government.Veronica is in her 3rd year of an athletics scholorship in Los Angeles at University, she is enjoying being able to see Nadja occasionally, and Gabrielle has really found her niche in the Fine Arts -Ceramics department at ANU in Canberra.

After what has been the wettest and coolest  summer for many years, harvest is approaching in a much more casual fashion than in recent memory.It’s been a long steady growing and ripening season, which will deliver grapes that haven’t been stressed and able to mature without loosing too much acid (which happens when they ripen too quickly in very dry and hot conditions).So we are looking at fantastic quality.The season is more like I remember, when we were feeling lucky to get chardonnay picked before the end of February, as we would get a payment a month earlier for contracted grapes.grenache grapes ripening

The season has not been without its setbacks,with different mildews sneaking about, so a lot of vigilance needed.The biodynamic regime seems to have helped strengthen the vines to be able to resist too much disease..No need for watering so our big irrigation dam has had a chance to recharge , so much so that the pump did end up submerged one night.Full dam

So it’s clean up time at the winery.We are getting low on stocks ,so it will be good to have some new wines in the barrels.

We have a couple of great events coming up in association with Orange Food Week8-17 April download the program at www.orangefoodweek.com.au.

Here in Canowindra we host “The 100 Mile Dinner” ,where we invite chefs and winemakers from Orange, Mudgee, Bathurst, Cowra and Canowindra to share their produce with us at a meal for 300 in the main(dog leg) street .It’s a fun night with great music for dancing during and after the meal. Tickets sell out quickly ,you can order them from the Food website .

I’ll be holding free tours of the vineyard,olive grove and winery and explaining our organic operation at 11am or 2pm most days accompanied with a wine tasting. Please book first

The canowindra@home group are also holding Night Markets at the Balloon Glow on Sat 9th April 5-8pm at the Tom Clyburn oval in Canowindra,where once again the local producers will be offering tastings  and take away of their own products.Small portion meals will be available to enjoy while you taste the best of the local wines.

It will be a busy couple of weeks for Canowindra as the town is hosting the National Balloon Championships from8th-17th April, so we’ll have at least an extra 200 people in town competing or crewing plus spectators .It’s always a magnificent spectacle to see the balloons blowing up and taking off on mass early in the morning and mid afternoon. There will be up to 40 balloons competing .

All this is around the Easter holiday break so it’s a great chance to get away and have some fun!!