Don’t bet against the weather….
After 3 wet Winter/Springs and the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a warmer and dryer Spring, I took some risks this year for the ground preparation to add some new Italian and Spanish red varieties. Well, with our new tractor well and truly bogged and post ramming delayed a month (because ground too wet), for the first time ever, we have had to cool store 3000 rootling vines and keep our fingers crossed they survive until we can get on the ground to plant them. The posts have to be rammed first! We had received around 350mm of rain in the 3 winter months, but we should think ourselves lucky, as central Greece recorded up to 800 mm in 24 hours last week. What would that have looked like here?
The moral of the story is that climate change is happening so fast that modelling, which relies on past averages (the rear view mirror), has become irrelevant for future prediction of climate. Sea and land temperature and rainfall records are tumbling so fast and furious that the 24 hour news cycle can’t keep up. All we can do, as farmers, is buckle up and go for the ride while we hope that politicians and governments take action for the future. Our new plantings of Barbera, Primitivo, Tempranillo and Tinta Cao have been based on factoring in global warming.
Now to my next topic… blends versus varietal wines.
I’ll start with a modestly controversial statement, and that is-
There are a few special places on earth where a single variety of grape can be grown to produce a complex and complete wine that cannot be improved, but for the rest of the wine world, a blend of varieties will give the most outstanding wine.
The ‘Old World’ of Europe has known this for centuries, not only to build the best quality but importantly to spread the risk of seasonal bad weather, by avoiding having ‘all your eggs in one basket’. Different varieties can respond differently to the vagaries of weather and season. So many of the great wines of Europe are based on blends, Bordeaux, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Chianti Classico and even some classics usually associated with a single variety allow for blending. In Australia the regulation of labelling allows for up to 15% of other varieties to be blended into a varietal wine. From the point of view of marketing it is easier for consumers to get a handle on wine choice by varietal identification first, then region and maker. For me, the exploration of blends is a real attraction based on historical/cultural guide rails.
So…. expect to see some new blends from us in the future but also maintaining some varietal wines that I think perform well here at Grey Sands.
We would like to ask you, our supporters & followers, to recommend to your friends they visit us and experience a tasting here, hosted by Rita, to get an owner’s guide to our many red and white wines. We have found over the years that the best way to sell our wines is through the tasting experience, letting the wine do the persuasion. The wine industry keeps growing, but few people realise that a few large corporates hold hundreds of labels that fill up the shelves of the big retailers. It takes some effort to track down authentic, family owned & operated vineyards who are growing different varieties to cope with the rapidly changing climate.
If you have been here for a tasting & would be happy to leave a comment, please go to Google or Trip Advisor.
Fingers crossed for this season…already the vine growth is at the level it usually is in late October!
Cheers & thanks for your support.
Bob (& Rita)

PS. We have just released our 2017 P Noir. The small amount of 2015 we have left is now ‘Members Only’ with a maximum of 6 bottles per order. The 2016 won’t be released for a little while yet…