Vintage 19 started at Kelman Boutique Winery on Friday 25 January. Mist hung over the vineyard at 5.30 am before dawn and we wondered if we would be able to see the grapes.
By 6.00 am there was enough light and the pickers were sent to the first Chardonnay block. Locals joined a handful of owners and a small party of travellers to start the work. Snips and buckets were handed around and the quad bike lined up with the big bin ready for the first load. Picking started quickly, one person either side of each row, working their way through the tangle of vines to find the best fruit.
As the buckets began to fill, Terry, our long-term viticulturist, said that these were the best Chardonnay grapes he had seen in ten years at Kelman, so we are hopeful the wine will reflect that quality. Darryl, our Wine Production Manager, agreed and believes we will once again produce some award-winning wines.
As the morning passed the sun rose and began to burn off the mist. Water bottles came out, banter flowed between the pickers in the vines and the constant movement of grapes to buckets to bins continued without a break.
Some five hours later the small and hard-working team had picked 3 tonnes of Chardonnay and Semillon. This first pick was crushed together later that day. It will be used for our Field Blend Chardonnay-Semillon. The very first release of this wine is due in February from the 2018 vintage and it is a very approachable and drinkable wine. It will add depth to the Kelman boutique range. Look out for it at the Cellar Door very soon.