Vintage 2020

The 2020 vintage season

The growing season for the 2020 vintage can be described as chaotic and difficult, to say the least! It began very well with late autumn, winter and early spring rainfall near average. Earlier than normal irrigation led to very good canopy development. As spring progressed, rainfall diminished substantially and temperatures were above average until late January, with several intense heatwaves. The Coronavirus struck during the middle to latter part of vintage and threw up many operational challenges. Harvest began on 27 February with the Manjalda Grenache, followed by the Mataro and Shiraz in the second week of March.
Viticulturist Peter Bolte says "The quality of all varieties grown is exceptional, with great colour and flavours a standout, particularly in the Shiraz".

The first vintage in our winery

2020 has been a special year for us, despite all the chaos from COVID-19, we were able to process fruit through our winery for the first time! Our new winery was completed at the end of January, just in time for vintage. Kim, our winemaker, was eager to get stuck into the winemaking now that she had her own space to create and experiment. This is the first year that all 3 generations had a first hand experience processing and producing the wine under the guidance of Kim. We all loved getting our hands dirty whether it was handpicking fruit in the vineyard, cleaning the press (make sure it’s turned off first!) or learning step by step how each of our wines is made. Carla found her calling with a squeegee and loved nothing more than the feeling of satisfaction when the epoxy floor in the winery was sparkling clean.

This year we chose to produce a smaller amount of wine as, we were processing in a new space, yields were low and we wanted to maintain our quality and consistency. The Shiraz fruit from Block 9 on our Redwind Vineyard was of exceptional quality, so we made the decision to produce an exclusive, single vineyard, single block wine from only 1 tonne of fruit. Mark, Carla and Emma-Lee Shirvington spent their time handpicking the best fruit for this wine on a Sunday afternoon.

We processed the Shiraz into 2 x 500kg ferments, one with some whole bunch fruit and the other all crushed. Once fermentation finished the wine was transferred into two new French Oak hogsheads (which smelt amazing by the way!). The colour and flavour from the fruit was superb and we cannot wait to release this limited edition wine.

The Grenache was handpicked for our Row X Row Rosé and Grenache. It took 30 pickers approximately 45 minutes to pick 3.471 tonnes – not a bad effort. Half was used for our Rosé and the other for the Grenache. This year Kim was able to experiment with winemaking methods, so she made 3 different batches of Grenache. The first was a cold soak where the crushed fruit was held cold for 3 days before being inoculated with yeast. This technique allows for a soft extraction of colour, flavour and tannin without the alcohol. The second was a whole bunch ferment, which we have done in previous vintages, and it adds the subtle confectionery flavours to the Grenache. Third, she had a crushed ferment. These 3 batches of Grenache will create a blend resulting in a uniquely crafted wine.

Our Rosé spent around 3 hours on skins and experienced very soft and slow juice extraction through our new bag press 'Bella' – she is all the way from Italy!

The Mataro was partially handpicked by Kim Jackson, Jake, Carla and Emma-Lee Shirvington. This is our second vintage producing Mataro so Kim decided to use the same methods as the Grenache to see how different techniques worked with the fruit. Once again she split the wine into 3 batches of whole bunch, cold soak and crushed fruit. The Grenache and Mataro were transferred into seasoned French oak barrels and the Rosé to tank.

That just about sums up the 2020 vintage for us! The wines have all been hand made in very small batches with nearly all parcels of fruit being handpicked. We had a whirlwind of a vintage this year but we all loved having the opportunity to get involved and to revel in the excitement of the new winery. The wines produced this year will be some to remember, we can't wait to share them with you. 


The Shirvos