Send us some rain! We are approaching the end of January with just 110mm since September 1st, all in dribs and drabs. The weather has been particularly warm with dry (& drying!) winds.  I made the conscious decision to go without irrigation from the start, but years like this have tested my resolve. To top it off, we have had 5 days of smoke haze making our view of Mt Arthur look more like Mt Mordor, out of Lord of the Rings. No colour in the fruit yet, so smoke taint is unlikely, but the smoky gloom hasn’t aided my mood.

We’ve packed the car with some important/sentimental things as a precaution if we have to leave in a hurry, but the fires are probably 50km away. They seem to have circled the Tamar Valley, but to date have not threatened the valley. I have pumped out one of our dams for the garden and last week, Rita & I rolled out some 2” poly pipe to start pumping water from our second dam. When that’s gone, that’s it for the garden…so this coming open weekend (30th & 31st Jan) might be the last one when the garden is looking ‘alive’. We’ll keep you posted.

What a whacky ‘El Nino’ event this has been, with very selective areas of drought but heavy rains and flooding on the coast of NSW. Temperatures keep rising each year and there are stories of harvesting grapes before New Year’s Day in some warm areas. So vintage 2016 is being harvested in 2015?? That’s going to be an interesting conundrum for the future in these warm areas.
My prediction here is for the earliest harvest yet in Tasmania, with our Pinots, off our property, coming in from mid-March.
On a completely different topic, I need to point out an issue arising from wine writers that are now asking for a fee to use their comments. A seemingly endless ‘cash cow’ to milk, but to my way of thinking, it is starting to look like ‘cash for comment’. So in the future, we will continue to send out samples of our wines to wine writers but we may have to refer customers to the wine writer’s websites or books to read the comments. Luckily some wine writers accept the free samples and provide comment without fee. Hopefully new, upcoming, wine writers will replace the ‘old guard’ and write from passion rather than pecuniary interest.

Now I would like to direct you to my latest blog: The Age of Wine, Modernism – Are we progressing?…we-progressing/ Which looks at a fundamental change in wine styling that has taken place since the introduction of screwcap wine closures. I see this as part of my series of blogs that follow on from ‘Vinosity and the Soul of Wine’ covering wine making and perceived faults in wine and ‘Wine and a Sense of Place’ which looks at Terroir Vs Brand.

I think my next blog should look at varieties, ‘Noble’ or otherwise, unless something more pressing turns up (Wine Taxation maybe??)

Finally to announce a New Release:
Our 2013 Shiraz is just starting to open up.

Tasting Notes 15.7.15
Deep red in colour, the nose shows delicate black fruit aromas and dusty oak. The palate has ripe mulberry fruit character, with some dried herb and black pepper notes to balance the finish.
A tightly structured wine with lots of life ahead. Hint: buy 2, and put one away after reading my blog!