Life never seems to slow down at Austin’s. Our Chief Winemaker, John experienced his 41st vintage in 2019 in his finest form, our Winemaker, Duncan Lowe somehow managed to juggle life with a nearly 2 year-old and long vintage nights still looking like a young, sprightly version of Ned Kelly and our Vineyard Manager, Craig Blake and his vineyard team battled through 1am harvest starts like seasoned professionals. He has been with Austin’s for 21 years so understandably so.
It was fast and furious vintage, but the team have successfully come out the other side with great optimism for some elegant, complex wines Austin’s is known to produce.
John summarised one of his toughest vintages to date.
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With only 368mm of rain fall in the Moorabool Valley since 2018 vintage, the 2019 season has given us a tough, challenging, short and fast vintage.
The low winter rainfall meant soil moisture was relatively low leading into budburst, reducing Spring vine growth and consequently, yields, which were down 20 per cent on previous seasons.
Small bunches of grapes were developing upon shorter than average canes, which took nearly full measure of our allocated irrigation water to keep vines healthy throughout the season.
The cool to mild springtime conditions we experienced, however led to typical timing for flowering and fruit set to occur. Just as we
thought mother nature was being kind, the summer heatwave hit us with a vengeance rarely experienced in the Moorabool Valley. We sweated through nine days over 38 degrees, many warm nights and a lack of rain, resulting in our fruit ripening quickly.
By mid-February, we began the rapid rush of harvest working long days and nights to keep up with the rate of ripening. Wines this year will certainly have a riper, more generous feel to them. We successfully captured the riesling, chardonnay and pinot noir at that perfect point of ripeness, giving us good cause for optimism for our benchmark wines at this early stage.
By mid-March all fruit was in the winery and either fermenting or finished fermenting and packed away. Despite the heat and dry climate, we still expect some elegant wines to emerge this year; a testament to a well-managed vineyard in a perfect location for grape growing.[/col]
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In 2019, you can expect to hear some exciting news coming out of Austin’s, both from the family and out of the winery. Our 6Ft6 brand continues to flourish both internationally and locally and our Austin’s brand has a redefined focus going into 2019 with some exciting plans ahead.
We’re continuing to focus on creating premium, cool-climate wines with personality, learning from our experienced and valuable customers and educating those who want to know more. We are looking forward to sharing our 2019 vintage wines with you and seeing you again soon.