In the early 1980's the Adelaide Hills was an untried region for grapes and wine. Our ambition was to plant a vineyard capable of growing flavours that would extend the style and quality frontiers of Australian wine.
This demanded a different way of growing grapes; with low yield from low vigour vines that fully ripened in the cool hills environment. Avoidance of the high or low extremes of temperature in the vineyard and protection from strong wind is fundamentally important.
The site we chose has ancient, low fertility soils and is high on the slopes allowing ample cold air drainage so that the vines are not restricted in their flavour-producing metabolism. In addition the soils have excellent water holding capacity meaning that irrigation is unnecessary and the vines have a steady but restricted water supply to support them.
Vintage Description: Crop levels of 3.1kg/vine were close to our long term average of 2.7 kg/vine. Harvest was in early March two weeks earlier than our long term average harvest date of 24th March. There is a clear trend to earlier harvest dates over the 31 years we have been growing Sauvignon. Hand picking occurred in mild weather from the 4th to the 6th of March. Heat degree day summation for the year was 1335; a little over our long term average of 1270 Heat Degree Days (HDD). A cool start in Oct and November and a warm finish in Feb and March mercifully free of extreme heat. Our vines are now 29 years old and show the benefits of maturity with good balance of crop and leaf plus more stable crops. The growing season rainfall was 420mm of rain Oct to March above our long term average of 230 mm. Of this 312 mm fell in October to December period. Disease pressure was consequently high early in the season but ripe healthy grapes were harvested. We grow our grapes without irrigation and they benefit, I believe, from deep roots sustaining them rather than more shallow ones subject to downpours and dry spells.