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Open 10:00 to 4:00 weekdays.
10:00 to 5:00 on weekends.
Other times by arrangement.
Phone: 0409568241 and 0435146081
Shopping Cart - $0.00

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How to Eat Wine (OR Become a Wine Connoisseur in 5 minutes)

Eating wine” isn’t for everyone. For some it will be so obvious that it is irrelevant. For others, their assumptions about wine will be challenged. Others again will have their confusion cleared. Fortunately, there is a simple test that will help decide this, and answer the eternal question: “Is it me or is it the wine?” Read More

On Preservative Free, Sulphite/Sulfite Free and Natural Wines

An Explanation of Preservative Free, Sulphite/Sulfite Free and Natural Wines

For years I have had a bad reaction to wine, or rather to its preservative (sulphur dioxide, food codes 220, 223, 224). The symptoms would be feeling flushed and thirsty, palpitations and headaches, usually appearing in the early hours of the morning; sort of a hangover even though only a glass had been drunk. It made for a miserable day ahead from lack of sleep.

My observation over 35 years of talking to people at our cellar door is that I am far from alone – perhaps 10-15% of people who drink wine have a reaction that concerns them and limits their interest in enjoying wine.

Another observation is that some people react only to white wine, others to red and some to both. This is an interesting question, and in the absence of any real explanation from researchers, I will offer my own theory.

The sulphur dioxide is present in different forms in red and white wines. The acid in white wine ensures a gaseous, volatile form of sulphur dioxide whilst in red wine it is bound to the red pigments, forming a compound that approximates the once widely used anti-biotic “Sulpha Drugs”. So asthma prone individuals can easily have a reaction to white wines whilst people who are allergic or been treated by sulpha drugs can respond to red wines.

One other possible response to red wines could be the presence of “Histamines”, a chemical created by bacteria and present in a range of fermented foods and drinks (eg. salami, beer). Nowadays, with careful acid control, histamine levels in red wines are very low or non-existent.

Alcohol is a muscle relaxant, but also a diuretic (ie makes you pee). Excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages, without topping yourself up with water can induce dehydration (thirstiness) and headaches, that we associate with a hangover. Generally though, with small amounts of consumption, like a glass or two, any feeling of being unwell is more likely to be caused by the preservative.

I am still able to enjoy wine because of some practices that I would commend to others:

1) Never drink young wines (1 to 3 years old), cask, cheap dry and sparkling wines or sweet wines. They have the highest levels of preservative, which is there to protect the wine from infection and oxidation, but suppresses aroma and flavour.

2) Do drink mature, older wines. The preservative levels in wine decays with time. It is at its highest at bottling, then slowly fades away until after about 5-6 years it is very low. From then is the best time to drink wine anyhow.

3) Commercial drops (Pharmaceutical grade 3% Hydrogen Peroxide) are readily available in bottle shops and need to be used precisely. It is strictly one drop per 150 ml glass of young wine to remove all the preservative. If you put one drop into 100ml or into 150 ml of an older wine you will strip out all its flavours and the wine will taste watery. One drop into 250 ml of a 4 or 5 year old wine is about right.


Sulphur dioxide around the world is used at every stage in the making of wine. From adding to the fruit bins as the grapes are picked, as they are juiced and so on, until the wine is bottled.

The purpose is twofold. To protect the grapes and wine from unwanted microbial infection and to limit the oxidation of precious flavour compounds, which gives each wine its distinctive character. With the modern concerns about hygiene and public rejection of spoiled and tainted food products, the growth in sulphur dioxide use has grown in step with modern scientific wine making, that owes much to Louis Pasteur (late 19th Century).

Traditionally wines were consumed quickly, certainly within a year, and by modern standards table wines were rough, often bitter, earthy or vinegary. Fortified wines (with added brandy) were often preferred because the higher alcohol protected the sweet wine from infection.

The use of small additions of sulphur dioxide helped transform the industry to the clean, fresh, flavoursome products in a bottle that we take for granted today.

The issue now is whether it is being overused and consideration should be given to its use only when necessary or in lesser amounts. Sulphur dioxide is a potent chemical and even its presence in wine at parts per million is becoming recognised as a potential health hazard.


Into the controversy over the additions and interference in the wine making process has come a movement, mainly in Europe, who believe there should be no additions of any type, especially sulphur dioxide. ”Natural Wine “ is difficult to define and there is no certification for it anywhere in the world.

The European Commission is the only jurisdiction to have certification for “Organic Wines” and sulphur dioxide addition is permitted at a low level.

Australia has Organic and Biodynamic Certification for vineyards but not for wine. So wines labelled “Organic” do contain some sulphur dioxide.

My experience of European Natural Wines is that they are different, perhaps a little raw and on the margin of what would usually be regarded as ‘faulty’. Definitely for the believer rather than the connoisseur.

Here is the label meaning of sulphur dioxide additions:

No Sulphite Addition None added at any stage
Sulphite Free/Preservative Free None detectable
Low Sulphites less than about half legal rate
Sulphites Added less than legal rate
Organic and Biodynamic less than legal rate


Written by Ken Eckersley, October 2018

Wine for everyman – rethinking the fundamentals of wine

This article was originally published in the Australian Wine Industry Journal, December 2004

by Ken Eckersley

With appreciation to the late Professor Emile Peynaud

We all eat, drink, smell perfumes and know the experience of bitterness (which is just as well as many plant poisons are bitter). Yet there is still mystery about the operation of these senses. The ‘simple’ act of enjoying a glass of wine is really a complex physiological one and also has personal and social overtones. Observe how people can have difficulty sharing their experience of a wine, whether it is uncertainty over what they are feeling or trying to find the ‘right’ words.

Listen to the ‘experts’, look at their written words and you will see words like ‘flavour’ and ‘taste’ used interchangeably and ‘palate’ and ‘aroma’ could also be thrown into the fuzzy mix. They are confused too. It used to be simple, when we borrowed the French words ‘touch’ for ‘taste’ and ‘savour’ for ‘flavour’, but that was in the time of Chaucer. So to clarify the language and make better sense of the experience of wine, the following words are explained.

Let’s start with swirling the wine under the nose and inhaling; it is the nasal receptors that detect the smell/ odour/aroma/bouquet. When the wine touches the palate (tongue, mouth lining) the brain moves up a gear. The taste is a combination of the sensation of mouthfeel (i.e. cold, acid, sweet, bitter, dry, savoury) that can be interpreted by the cortex as ‘structural concepts’ such as shape, weight, balance, texture, and flavour (Peynaud: ‘the aroma in the mouth’) deriving from the volatiles liberated by the warmth (37C) and large surface area of the mouth. They are sucked up the retro-nasal passage by air being breathed out and across the nasal sensors for a second time. (The reverse is known but uncommon—aroma alone producing mouthfeel).

Flavour is the same as aroma except the source is different (glass versus mouth, inhale to exhale). It can also be more diverse and persistent while the shorter lived aromas can be more intense as the brain is focusing on just one sense.

Naturally if a wine is rushed through the mouth there is little opportunity for flavour to be detected and only the mouthfeel is perceived. The difficulty when tasting is that two sense organs are being stimulated and are competing for our conscious attention. Skill and concentration are required to focus on one or the other; if, say, a strong tannic red is tasted, it is hard for subtle flavours to be noticed.

Current research has focused on ‘super-tasters’ who have more tongue sensors; they rarely drink wine as the experience is so overwhelming. Generally women are more sensitive than men and Caucasians are the least of the racial groups. Given the decline in the senses as we age it makes understandable the preference for ‘obvious’ wines like BIG reds among older Caucasian males!

The nerve pathways from the nose and mouth are very different. The mouth discerns only a handful of possible responses that go to the main brain which can respond to excesses with the feeling of pain. The nasal senses have their own part of the brain, via the ‘olfactory bulb’, with the reported ability to discriminate 10,000 odourants. The circuitry involves the ‘primitive’ pleasure, emotional part of the forebrain—a powerful area that can draw upon memory, associations, sexual arousal, danger etc. Reportedly 1% of a person ‘s DNA is tied to the sense of smell, the same as for the immune system.

A device to assist focusing on the concurrent tasting sensations is to momentarily pause breathing. Flavour detection ceases and only the mouthfeel or structure will be apparent; then resume breathing and the flavour will surge. As flavour is apparent only on the exhale part of the breathing cycle, it will pulse.

Then there is the aftertaste, the sensations that remain after the wine has left the mouth. As before there will be the after-flavour and the after-feeling, which are time extensions; lingering longer is an essential part of a quality wine. After-flavour builds up with repeated tastes and reflects superior fruit good oak and careful winemaking. After-feeling can be a steady softness, dryness or cleanness (especially in white wines) and probably derives from high extract and management of the tannin regime (in red wines) —both strongly influenced by winemaking practices. Good winemaking is always evident in a balanced, soft mouthfeel.

Returning to the theme of describing wines, the following three different examples follow the definitions set out above:

• Melon and oak on the nose, with a soft balanced palate and flavours of melon, oak and hazelnut;

• Pungent neutral nose, rounded textured tannins and cherry, earthy flavours that persist;

• Strong fruit salad leaps out of the glass and the taste is coarse and like old boots. Thank goodness it finished short!

So much for the complexities. Keep it simple; this is the Lord’s Prayer of how to go about enjoying wine: Pour the wine into a generous glass (not XL5) and swirl it under your nose and inhale; then place a small portion at the front of the mouth and move the tongue as if eating, and wait. The wine will reveal all. One drinks beer, and water, but wine is better eaten.

KEN ECKERSLEY is the winemaker at Nicholson River Winery.

REFERENCES: Burr, C. (2002) The Emperor of Scent, Random House.

Clarke, R.J. and Bakker, J. (2o04) Wine Flavour Chemistry, Blackwells.

Peynaud, Emile (1987) The Taste of Wine, Macdonald Orbis.


On wine & cheese matching

(This article was originally published in the magazine “Flavours from the not so far east” first (and only) edition: ’11 Rivers Bounty’, December 2009)

The Great Wine and Cheese Event at the Tinamba Hotel.

Traditionally wine has been regarded in part as something to wash down food, but in our recent indulgent times the idea of ‘matching ‘ food and wine has grown. Similar to the homeopathic (herbal) medicine principle of ‘like with like’, so simple foods with simple wines, rich wines with rich foods etc. White wines do go well with fish and chicken and poorly with red meats, while red wines taste metallic with fish but fine with steak. In reality foods and wines are each mixtures of textures and flavours and finding a compatible combination from so many contrasting ingredients can be challenging. Often it is a ‘try it and see’ situation. What if we brought together two famously flavoursome “11 Rivers” products – wine and cheese? Will they hit it off, become a couple, or will they argue, fail to communicate and be incompatible? So on the afternoon of Monday, 26th October 2009 we gathered to try and answer this eternal question. ”We” are the cheesemaker Ferial Zekiman (Maffra Cheese) and Terry-Anne Gaskin (Capra Organic Goats Cheese), with Fleur Dawkins (Glenmaggie Wines) and myself (Ken Eckersley, winemaker at Nicholson River Winery). Our host and independent judge is Brad Neilson of the Tinamba Hotel.

First we had to agree on what was a ‘match’ and how we were going to go about the exercise. Considering that there are two aspects of food/wine in the mouth; the feeling of sweet, salt, acid, bitter and savoury on the tongue and the aroma/flavour aspect detected in the nose as we breathe out. There had to be compatibility then at two levels – a balance or even an enhancement of their features in the mouth and nose. A mismatch would be when the wine/cheese appeared to cancel each other out or even brought out something unpleasant in the other. The method chosen was to taste the cheese and then to follow with the wine – and wait. (A spittoon was used – otherwise we would not survive the rigor of some 30 cheese/wine tastings!). We discussed each one to reach a consensus.

Initially there was disagreement and even confusion but as each of us got the gist of the experience, our perceptions sharpened and we seemed to speak as one.

The first bracket was two Capra goat cheeses: the “Mountain Ash” – fresh, salty and creamy; and “Serenade”- mature, strongly flavoured, earthy with a white rind. Seven wines of various styles were tried with each. The powerful “Serenade” was matched with the similarly complex 2006 Montview Chardonnay (Nicholson River), an oaked soft style, and the 2003 Botrytis Semillon (Nicholson River), coming through as enjoyable combinations. The “Mountain Ash” was kinder and the unoaked 2007 Glenmaggie Chardonnay brought out its creaminess, while with the 2006 Nicholson River Pinot Noir, they gently complemented each other.

Noticeably very dry styles like Sauvignon Blanc and Sparkling seemed to ‘vanish’.

The second bracket was five Maffra Cheeses and they were tasted with three dry red styles and a sweet botrytised white. Normandie Brie (soft white with mouldy rind) – The creamy interior seemed compatible with several wines but when the mouldy exterior was taken into account only the 2006 Glenmaggie Cabernet Sauvignon shone through. Mature Cheddar (18 months) – a friendly cheese to the red wine styles, with the Nicholson River Pinot Noir and Syrah and the Glenmaggie Cabernet Sauvignon all coming up well. The following three cheeses were complex and intensely flavoured – Glenmaggie Blue (matured for 2 months), Glenmaggie Blue (7 months) and Raclette; only the likewise complex and intensely flavoured Botrytis Semillon (Nicholson River) could join them in a memorable oral and nasal experience! The exception was the mix of the young Blue with Nicholson River Syrah, a particularly flavoursome combination. Otherwise it seems the more traditional Australian tannic red styles are best kept away from the complex cheeses.

The two and a half hours of concentrated chewing/tasting/spitting passed quickly; it was a pleasure to share the experience with such dedicated sensualists! All the cheeses and wines by themselves were a delight, but when you put them together there can be a synergy, something more than each has to offer.

Our host, Brad Neilson has the last word: “Is it common knowledge that red wine goes with cheese??? Matching food and wine is one of the most difficult and subjective things to get right…. Most of us open a bottle of red and expect it to match most of the cheese on the plate; we found this was seldom the case…. It can be also said it is about personal taste, but when paired up wine and cheese can do something special that brings out the best in each other, even the experts can’t agree on any absolutes in the cheese and wine matching game…. Try it for yourself at your next dinner party; you may be pleasantly surprised at your findings…. We were!!!!!!“


Ken Eckersley

The 2011 Vintage Sparkling has landed

We are proud to present the 2011 Vintage Sparkling, grown and made here in Nicholson, East Gippsland, using the traditional ‘hands-on’, ‘Méthode Champenoise’. This time we have raised our output to 60 dozen bottles.

There are many ways to make ‘Sparkling Wine’, from soda injection methods & upward. But the Ultimate Sparkling Wine is without doubt, ‘Vintage Champagne’. This style has been made famous by those in the eponymous region of France, and known partly for the presence of bubbles, but mostly for the rich, creamy and toasty flavours held within the bottle. Bubbles are still important, though not for appearance, as many assume. The best quality bubbles are small, and stem from the secondary fermentation in the bottle, which gives a soft mousse texture of soft mousse on the tongue. The ageing on yeast for many years gives the characteristic, delicious flavours. Incidentally, in Champagne they prefer to drink out of white wine glasses and not flutes! (ie. They appreciate flavour over bubbles.)

The rules for making authentic Vintage Champagne wine are quite strict. The wine must be at least 85% from grapes grown in the same year. Importantly, the wine must then be left on lees (with the yeast, in the bottle) for a minimum of 5 years, before disgorging (the process of removing the dead yeast cells.) Then, the wine is left to rest for at least another 9 months.

Ken has been making sparkling wine for over 10 years, honing and perfecting the craft with each passing vintage. As with our other wines, Ken wondered whether it was possible to make Classic Wines here in the Gippsland Lakes region. The answer has been a resounding ‘Yes’, but with a cool-climate Australian twist – Flavour Intensity.

On Pricing – given the age, the low volumes we make, the amount of work involved and the quality, one would expect to pay upwards of $70 a bottle for this Vintage Sparkling. Contrary to marketers suggestions (Did you know that the more expensive a Sparkling is, the more demand increases?) we prefer to keep our wine prices at a level that is accessible to everyday Australians. This is a new style for most Australians, different from what people are used to. We’d love to see this style become more widely known and appreciated.

To purchase this special wine, go to our online shop.

Gold for the 2014 NR Chardonnay!

The British Wine Sommeliers Association have announced the results of their annual tasting of International wines. These are the wines they are recommending to Britain’s top restaurants. Around 100 sommeliers participated on the judging panels with Australian Chardonnays dominating the New World producers, receiving 5 Gold, 7 Silver, 3 Bronze and 8 commendations. (www.sommelierwineawards.com)

The Judges comments on this result included, “interesting to see how Chardonnay styles are evolving. You can still say it’s ‘Australian Chardonnay’, but they are elegant, classy……these wines are genuine alternatives to good Burgundy……

Different to what restaurants expected of this category 20 years ago”.

The Australian Golds went to 2 Tasmanian, 2 Western Australian and I Victorian wines.

Comments about the Nicholson River included, “A unanimous choice for our tasting panel, and ‘a wine of a different level, with great oak use and freshness of fruit, golden apple, pineapple and vanilla notes’, according to team leader Laurent Richet MS, with Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson noting ‘lemon peel, wax and honey, an old school feel with toast and cream, depth of flavour and generosity’. Agustin Trapero of Avenue found ‘complex ripe mango and mandarins, with white chocolate notes and yoghurt texture’. ‘Huge depth and intensity, such a lovely mouthfiller, fab wine,’ concluded Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering.”

Nicholson River Winery in East Gippsland was established in 1978 has been long known for its Chardonnays and was voted nine times “Victoria’s most popular White Wine” in the 90’s.

Ken Eckersley, the owner/winemaker, said “its always nice to be appreciated for all the hard work that goes into making quality wine. This was a great result for a small winery in a relatively unknown wine region and opens the door into the exclusive restaurant trade in Britain. I’m always telling people that Gippsland produce is World Class. We do rely on outsiders to remind us.

This represents a turn-around for the British, who have seen Australian wine as cheap and inelegant.”

Our distinctive label

People often ask us about our unique label, so we’ve created a page that outlines the why and the how of the Nicholson River Winery label.

Read more here.

Feast East Gippsland

160 people were here in April to ‘Feast East Gippsland’. 2 breweries, 2 wineries and 4 restaurants – all local – showed what fantastic produce East Gippsland is capable of. This is the kind of event we have wanted for a very long time – celebrating local produce, and food and wine together! It was a wonderful night, that all involved can be proud of.

The wineries were us, and Lightfoots. The breweries involved were the Bullant Brewery (Bruthen), and Sailor’s Grave Brewing (Orbost).

(Photos by Scott Kingman.)

Here is MC Cam Smith, of Triple R, congratulating the team of chefs who pulled off a fantastic feast.


Some of the guests enjoying the sunset with a glass of wine.


The menu for the evening. (Click to zoom in.)


A view of the event from across the paddock.


Vintage 2016

Vintage 2016

Interesting and challenging are the words that come to mind when thinking of vintage 2016…
Spring was wet, with periods of heat and cold. This resulted in good growth, and flowering spread out over a long period. Rain fell on 16 days in January, and 18 in March. Thankfully February was dry, and we held the botrytis and mildews at bay.
We began picking quite early – mid February. Then, the weather cooled, ripening halted, and we finished picking quite late. It was one of the most protracted vintages we’ve ever had – 8 weeks. (In contrast to the rest of Victoria, where the season was hot and dry.) We picked 26 tonnes of fruit – our largest since 2010. This is a very small production – under 20% of Australian wineries are at this level. Typically we only produce between 80 & 150 dozen of each wine that you see on our wine list.

Our ‘Top Picks’ for 2016
The Pinot Noir looks interesting – it came in early and is quite dark.
The Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc blend will be impressive.
The Chardonnay will be complex and interesting, with an alcohol level of around 12.5%.

Ken with his 6 year old grandson Toby, closely watching the Pinot Noir grapes come down the chute and into the crusher.

Toby and Ken V2

Events, Other News & Musings…

 There’s been a lot happening at the cellar door over the warm months. Nick Reefman played every month, building up a solid following of local music and wine lovers. The wood-fired pizzas were a big hit, too. And, we now have another oven to cook in. It’s made of mud! Or rather, cob – a mixture of clay, sand and straw (see picture). It was built over a few days, coinciding with the 4th annual (f)routeville – a festival of local art, food and culture. This year saw a ‘medieval marketplace’ made of fabric with local artisans plying their wares, workshops, talks, performances and faeries. We’re proud to be involved in such a wonderful creative community.

Mud Mob Oven

Some of the crew that made a cob oven at the winery during the (f)routeville weekend. An old water tank was added to keep the rain off.
Bread and pizzas have been delicious!

What is a “Food and Wine Culture”?

Second Feast on East Direct Dinner

“Rudder and Fin” restaurant in Lakes Entrance on 21/11/15

Address by Ken Eckersley of Nicholson River Winery

It is something we often talk about at FOED and aspire to, but what is it really? Aren’t we doing that now just by eating local food?

I think the answer is No. It’s much more. Read More

Feast on East Direct Dinner, Address by Ken Eckersley of Nicholson River Winery, Little Alice’s Restaurant in Bairnsdale on 24/10/15

I hope you noticed that you were given a white wine glass of Sparkling Wine and not a flute! In the Champagne region flutes are regarded as suitable for cheap bubbly as they accentuate the bubbles, but quality Champagne has flavour, and this is brought out best by a white wine glass. Champagne is perceived there as a superior white wine rather than glorified soda water.

To-night we will be tasting seven local wines and some beers with the various courses. The wines are a sampling only of perhaps forty available at cellar doors for you to try in this area. Do check them out.

First, the differences between beer and wine. Read More

A Theory on the Balance between Flavour and Mouthfeel in Wine

The side of the truck said – “Feel the taste of Munchies”.

This is quite right, and it could also have said “Smell the taste of Munchies”, because taste, whether food or wine, has these two sensory aspects.

This will come as a surprise to most people, although on reflection it will appear obvious.

Even wine professionals use the word “palate” for taste and mistakenly interpret that to mean only its mouthfeel, whilst contrariwise foodies have a habit of regarding anything that goes into the mouth as having “flavour”. Each is half right.
Read More

How to Enjoy Wine

Wine was regarded in Ancient Greece as a gift from the Gods, one of life’s great pleasures. The exciting world of wine can be opened to you too, if you know a few of the basics.Firstly, wine is a beverage that is mainly water, with 12 – 15% alcohol (which is sweet), food acid (sour), red tannins (which are bitter) and many flavour compounds in micro amounts; as you would expect from a fermented fruit juice.

Secondly, it is important to know how your eating system works. Read More

Wine Style and Wine Quality

It seems to me that wine style and wine quality are often confused, not only in the minds of wine consumers but more importantly in those of wine judges. The added complication is that ‘style’ is related to ‘fashion’.

When Brian Croser became president of the Winemaker’s Federation of Australia and also Chief Judge of the Adelaide Wine Show during the 1990’s, he commented that ‘exhibits are increasingly cloned to meet…style preferences of the judges’. He went on to state that ‘the broad objective…should be to create the opportunity of a greater diversity of style representation’ for the wine entries in the shows.

Now, many years later, Read More

A Course in How to Enjoy the New Modern Wines

In recent years much has been happening to wine in Australia. There are new varieties and new grape growing areas, such as in Southern and Eastern Victoria. They are often different from mainstream Australian styles and have features and qualities that can be easily missed. In brief, this Course is about a shift from mouthfeel (traditional) to the new aroma/flavour-based wines mixed with some sensible consumer information.

The following is a list of exercises that will enable the reader to make the transition and benefit more from their wine experience.

Read More

Welcome to our new website!!

After two years with the old site, we’ve decided to move with the times and use a new platform which works well on mobile phones and simplifies the purchasing process.
Like our wines, it should be multi-layered and elegant! Let us know what you think, and of course if you have any problems don’t hesitate to contact us on (03) 5156 8241.

Thanks to our web-master, Maurice Burns, for setting it up. We think he’s done a great job! Find more of his work at http://mbworks.info/


Ken, Juliet & James

Which Wine? Which Food?

Food is meant to sustain us – “what we eat today walks and talks tomorrow”, and, as a bonus, can be a pleasurable sensory experience. Our body evolved so that the need to eat was hardwired into the senses, and in particular, the sense of smell, that specialist function of mammals. The front portion of the brain that computes smell also looks after pleasure, emotions and their memories, which is why the scent of, for example, lavender or freshly mown grass, can transport us back to childhood or an event, to relive that moment. Of our various senses, it seems that smell is the only one that does not necessarily deteriorate with age, thus confirming its importance. In contrast, our palate, where we taste, slowly declines. Small children are fussy eaters because they are more sensitive than adults to bitterness and acids. They tend to be more attuned to sweetness to fuel their active lives. Read More

Vintage 2013 update

Well we’ve picked all the whites, and they’re looking really good! One of the best crops we’ve ever had, actually. Small amounts, but great flavours – and as you know we’re all about quality over quantity! (We average 1 tonne to the acre, while your typical irrigation district vines will crop at 10-15t/a.)

We had 50ml of rain in the middle of it, but it hasn’t had much effect – which shows how dry it has been! The top Chardonnay did end up a little sweeter than we would have liked, but we will be able to blend it with some picked earlier to bring the alcohol down to around 13.4%, similar to previous years. And the flavours are delightful! It’s so good to have some good news after the last two years!

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