2014 has been the first vintage for us as the new owners of Fernfield Wines, and it has just been fantastic!
Now that we’re well into vintage, we have a look back on what our grapes have gone through this year before being transformed into our 2014 vintage!
While our vineyards escaped damage from the October frost that devastated some other crops, cool and windy flowering & fruit set reduced the number of berries, significantly reducing our harvest yield. While this reduced production levels, it also decreased competition on the vine, improving the flavour concentration of the remaining fruit.
The cool spring prepared the vines well for the January and February heatwaves, and with good viticultural management through irrigation and vine protection, no ill effects were seen. The dramatic rain event in February refilled the soil profile and as the Eden Valley fruit was still in veraison, no splitting or disease was observed. The rain event slowed the ripening, which combined with a cool March and April has allowed for a late harvest and therefore increased flavour concentration. Luckily the January bushfire didn’t affect our grape growing areas, with winds taking smoke away and preventing any smoke taint.
After a dramatic season, with frost, scorching heat, fire and flooding rain, the resilience of the vines has been impressive, with crops well below average in size, but so far indications are that there was above average quality.
Starting with the whites...
We started with our whites back in March. While we’re maintaining the tradition of an Eden Valley Riesling, this year we were also lucky enough to find a little gem of a Sauvignon Blanc vineyard in Balhannah, in the Adelaide Hills. Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc is amongst the best in the country, and when we went down to inspect the vineyard we knew this one wouldn’t disappoint. The vines were beautifully managed, and the berries were brimming with a beautiful passionfruit flavour!
...and on to the reds
This year we’ve chosen a Barossa Shiraz to add a bit of a different touch to our range. After inspecting the vineyard with previous Fernfield owners Bryce and Bronnie, we decided to hand-pick on the 12th of March. We crushed five tonnes, before fermenting on-skins for 10 days. We gave the wine extended maceration time to really pull the great flavours out of the skins before pressing in our basket press. The wine is now in barrels developing into great Shiraz!
We roped in our entire family to help with our Merlot in early April, and had a great weekend picking and crushing, before a perfect ferment and basket press. The Merlot has just been put into French oak this week, and will develop over the next 18 months.