Vintage 2020 Report from the Winemaker

Vintage 2020 from our winemaker, Duncan Lowe

Vintage 2020 was a slow start…

With a later flowering in 2019 due to a cooler than average spring, the 2020 vintage was always going to be slow to start. The poor flowering conditions also contributed to lower number of bunches and smaller berries. Going into the 2020 season we were confident on quality and expecting lower yields, then nature produced one more hurdle before harvest…

…It rained.

Rain is something that rarely happens in the Moorabool Valley, especially in Summer. With above average rainfall in January and February the pressure was on in the vineyard as there was a high possibility of disease. The harvest was pushed back even later and we lost even a little more yield due to berries swelling up and splitting.

austins vineyard
The Austin’s vineyard in the Moorabool Valley, Geelong

Thankful for the windy valley… and extra time.

Thankfully the always windy Moorabool Valley provided great air flow through our vines minimising disease in our fruit and we started to pick the first batch of pinot noir fruit (for rosé) just before the end of February.

The cool ripening period retained a higher than usual acidity in the fruit and the low yields meant there was no pressure in the winery for space. The positive for the lower yields is that the lack of pressure to pick quickly allowed us to pick and choose exactly which parcels of fruit we wanted, and when we wanted it. This is the most important decision of the winemaking process and it proved to be a favourable outcome for the 2020 vintage.

We also had more time for multiple pickings, we picked the Austins Chardonnay four times.  Each pick produced fruit with unique flavours, our earliest batch had flavours of fresh limes while our last pick two weeks later had flavours predominately of white peach.

We slowly picked our way through the pinot noir too, the first pick was with our Rent A Vine team on the 14th March and we picked the various blocks up until the 28th March. The various picks over the two weeks has allowed us to have so many parcels of different ripeness and flavour profiles. I am certain we will be able to blend up a complex pinot noir for 2020 with the natural acidity providing great freshness and structure to our aromatic varieties.

The pinot gris is bright and fresh with crisp pear flavours and the Austins Riesling has serious acid backbone that may need some taming but I like that it is so true to style.

All in all, the vintage has produced some wonderful fruit but we just wish there was more of it!

Duncan

Austin’s and 6Ft6 Winemaker

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