It is timely to report on the Kelman Vineyard harvest 2020.
At a time in Australia when many people have suffered traumatic loss of property, livelihoods and even family members, it is appropriate to put into context our own situation as a residential and working vineyard.
Our unique position as a cooperatively owned boutique wine producer in the Hunter Valley allows us to make decisions that may be more difficult for bigger commercial wineries who depend for their very existence on continual cash flow from their wine production.
The good news is that we have suffered no permanent damage to property, infrastructure or the vineyard. We have been inconvenienced by smoke, concerned by the threat of bushfire in the Hunter region and have now dealt with several torrential rain events. The dams are full again.
The bad news is that we will have a very tiny vintage and wine production year. We tested our fruit, using the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) facilities and made our harvesting decisions based on scientific evidence. The reality is that smoke taint has affected almost all our fruit, from the whites through the reds. We decided to pick only very specific parcels of fruit.
We are not making any white wines from Kelman fruit this year, but we will release a wine made from already fermented juice that predates the bushfires. More on that as we progress through the year.
We have made a small batch of Rosé from our Tempranillo and Shiraz grapes. Minimum time on skins should result in a light, dry style of wine perfectly suited to our climate. The short skin contact time will reduce the risk of smoke taint. This fermented juice will be tested and tasted again before bottling and only if we are 100% confident of zero smoke taint will we release it to our owners and the public.
Our Tempranillo fruit tested well – and in fact the AWRI has almost no historical data on this grape variety at the moment – so we have also made a small batch. Again, it will only be released following careful testing.
It was hugely disappointing to see wonderful bunches of absolutely gorgeous Shiraz grapes on the vines, knowing that we have made great wine from these for the past three years, and deciding to drop those grapes and not use them. That’s farming! We will concentrate on nurturing these vines for next year’s crop.
On a final note we hope all wine producers in the Hunter Valley make it through 2020 as well as possible. Media reports are often confusing and sometimes completely wrong. Some winemakers will have tested fruit, others may not have. Decisions to pick or not pick, make wine or not make wine, will have been made according to individual circumstances.
At Kelman we have plenty of good wine to share with our customers. We have a cellar door and private tastings to welcome you from Thursday through the weekend. We believe in transparency and will only offer wine that is of the highest quality. We look forward to seeing you!
Darryl Ede, Wine Production & Martin Long, Chair