Christmas is certainly coming around very quickly, but but down here in the cool climate Geelong area, winemakers have other things on their minds. THE NEXT VINTAGE!!!! Our Brown Magpie Pinot Noir and Shiraz need good quality oak to help the wine reach its full potential. The cooperages are all contacting us because they have to bring out containers from France. Many are already on there way. It is wonderful to see the array of French, Hungarian and American barrels available, but it is extremely difficult to assess the size of the order in the Geelong area at this time of year. Whereas, in South Australia and the Riverlands flowering is already starting, and the crop estimates can soon start, Geelong has to wait until mid December until we see the end of flowering and therefore a reliable estimate of the size of the crop.
Order too many barrels and you go broke. They are expensive!!! Order too few and your wine quality can suffer. We are also sorting our orders for our yeasts, and other wine making products. We are checking and repairing our winemaking equipment making sure that it is all in order for the start of vintage. The wine press that we use to press our pinot gris, grigio, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc is currently away for repairs. It is very difficult to get a machine part quickly as most of our equipment comes from Italy.
We are also employing our vintage staff because skilled people are difficult to find. It is a busy life, but the vintage is the most exciting part of the year. We plan to make sure everything goes smoothly. Of course, we always encounter a problem. What will the Black Swan be this year?