Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Heat and frost affect vintage

The frost that hit many areas of the Goulburn Valley in October and the extreme summer heat may have reduced the quantity of some vineyards’ vintages, but winemakers are optimistic about its quality.

LAURA GRIFFIN April 29, 2014 3:10am

Nina Stocker and daughter Ellie in the Brave Goose Vineyard.. Picture: Timothy Burgess

The frost that hit many areas of the Goulburn Valley in October and the extreme summer heat may have reduced the quantity of some vineyards’ vintages, but winemakers are optimistic about its quality.

The about 5ha Brave Goose Vineyard is in the foothills of the Tallarook ranges, and winemaker Nina Stocker credited being on the slopes with it largely avoiding frost damage.

She and husband John Day, who manages the vineyard at Whiteheads Creek, between Seymour and Trawool, were concerned about the effect of January’s heatwaves on the fruit, but the vines weathered them well thanks to their age.

Ms Stocker said because parents Jo and John Stocker established the Brave Goose Vineyard — named after a bird who helped deter cockatoos from young vines and survived fox attacks and the elements — in the late 1980s, the vines were approaching 30 years old and had been managed well.

‘‘We also avoided disease pressures of previous years,’’ she said.

They finished hand-picking Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Malbec, Gamay and Viognier in early April, and Ms Stocker is excited about the vintage’s ‘‘lovely flavour’’.

‘‘It’s looking like a really good vintage.’’

About 2tonnes/acre were harvested across varieties, which will be fermented in small open pot fermenters, pressed in a wooden basket press and aged in French oak barrels for 10 to 12 months.

‘‘We do not expect to get much more because on the ironstone slopes the topsoil is very shallow and we look to quality versus quantity.’’

Ms Stocker said the vineyard produced concentrated and well balanced fruit.

The estate-grown wine is sold at local restaurants and stores and some of it in Melbourne, from the cellar door and at the Tallarook Farmers’ Market.

At Murchison’s Longleat Estate, the last of late red varieties were picked last week, and winemaker Guido Vazzoler said the harvest for the Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot started long before.

‘‘The harvest starts at the beginning of the growing season,’’ Mr Vazzoler said.

‘‘All that happens during the growing season affects the quality of the fruit.’’

Of Longleat Estate’s about 8ha vineyard, 15 per cent of the crop was lost due to frost damage in October, which Mr Vazzoler said was a smaller loss than many others in the Goulburn valley, some of whom lost their whole crop.

He said the growing season was quite good, but during the summer’s protracted extreme heat, they lost about 25 per cent as a result of sunburn.

‘‘The good thing about sunburn is the berries dry out and are hard on the vine and the machine we pick with doesn’t pick these dried out berries, so they don’t affect the flavour.’’

Because yields were down — they harvested about 100tonnes — it was a relatively smooth vintage, but Mr Vazzoler said it was a bit early to predict its quality.

‘‘I think it will be average to above average.’’

comments powered by Disqus
Shepparton logo

Cancer nurse's future secured

The Shepparton Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch committee will continue to fund the prostate cancer specialist nurse position at Goulburn Valley Health for the next four-and-a-half years.

shepp mags

The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.

Echuca mag

Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.


Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.


Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.