2022 - What a challenging year!
Every year has its challenges and 2022 has been no exception. We started the year well with a "unicorn" vintage of excellent quality and good yields. We had to pull out all the stops during vintage to pick the grapes at the right times for the best quality wine. We are indebted to our regular employees and for the few temporary pickers we could find, who rolled up their sleeves and saved the day.
Right at the end of vintage our Loxton vineyard was caught up in a fruit fly outbreak, meaning extra inspections and mountains of paperwork to bring the fruit back over the river to Glossop for processing. This month our winery and Glossop vineyard have also been caught up in a new fruitfly outbreak, so we will again need to be super vigilent in vintage 2023.
After vintage each year we start pruning the vines and preparing the wines for bottling. This year we saw the prices of bottles sky-rocket, and delays in label printing due to paper shortages, so we have been very excited to let you know when we release the wines.
Good news for our customers - we are not passing on the price rises this year.
The wet season has been a mixed blessing. It has reduced our frost risk this year, and also our water consumption. The explosion of wild life has been spectacular, and we are delighted that the population of the endangered Regent Parrot seems to have doubled. Our cover crop is looking healthy, and so far the only hail we have had has been very small and has done no discernible damage. On the other hand, controlling vine disease has been more demanding than usual, and our bottling schedule has been disrupted repeatedly due to heavy rain flooding the driveway and preventing vehicle movement.
The Murray River is currently in flood, arising from the third La Ninã in a row. Rainfall in the Murray Darling catchment from Bourke, to Forbes, to Echuca and Strathbogie has all drained into the Murray tributaries. The soil is full, so this is flowing down the river in the biggest flood since 1956.
Our winery and vineyards are safe, although some of our friends and neighbours have challenges from managing rising water on their properties. The road between Berri and Loxton is submerged, so we currently detour to our Loxton vineyard via Renmark or Moorook, and will use the Kingston detour when the Moorook road goes under this week. We have become very efficient at our trips, and it's been lovely to stay on the Loxton vineyard some nights instead of commuting back home to Glossop.
The challenges have made life interesting, but it is really exciting to see the river in its full majesty.
Now that we know the impact on our operations, we have resumed regular cellar door hours, although we ask that you ring first to confirm your visit in case we are caught on the wrong side of the river.
Cellar door hours: Wednesday to Sunday 10am-5pm, ring to confirm 0408 855 272.
Our wonderful staff have all had highlights during the year.
Seamus, our trainee winemaker, has finished first year Wine Science with Distinction.
Alona, our cellar door assistant, has completed her WSET Certificate II in wine and spirits education.
Steve, our semi-retired general hand, has just been awarded a 7-year service award for volunteer service with Meals on Wheels.
So from all the team at 919 Wines, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a peaceful and joyful 2023.
Jenny, Eric, Seamus, Alona, Steve