As part of the Southern Highlands Wine Time Festival, visitors to Centennial Vineyards had the opportunity to participate in guided walks through the vineyard. This was the first time such an event had been offered at Centennial and the walks were organized for three Saturdays in March.
Visitors met at the Cellar Door and walked across the restaurant courtyard into the Winery Block vineyard. Here they were shown mature Tempranillo vines, newly planted exotic clones of Pinot Noir, old Tempranillo vines grafted over to modern clones of Pinot Gris, and a number of different clones of mature Sauvignon Blanc. The tour leader described how and why grafting was done and what a specialised skill grafting is.
Walking between the rows, visitors learnt about netting prior to harvest, leaf plucking and canopy management.
There was also the opportunity to taste fruit straight off our Chardonnay vines, the source of our multi-award winning Woodside Winery Block Chardonnay. A strategically placed Esky revealed wine sourced from this vineyard and everyone got to taste the fruit on the vine, then the wine made from that fruit in a prior vintage.
Oscar and Emmy, our resident vineyard dogs joined the walk on at least one of the Saturdays and were under strict instructions not to eat the grapes!
The walks finished back at Cellar Door, where visitors had the opportunity to taste a selection of Centennial's wines.
Our winter lawn mowers are back in the vineyard! The sheep arrived at the farm a month ago and have been in the House Block vineyard. They have done a great job of eating down the grass and weeds. Here is a photo of us moving them to the Old Block vineyard on Friday.
After the vintages of 2011 (average) and 2012 (poor) we approached the start of the 2013 vintage with apprehension and a lot of hope. We survived it, although having to run the gauntlet of weather events, to find it was an excellent vintage. The winery is bursting with extremely good wine.
It started in September with a good budburst promising a moderate crop. Warm weather during spring resulted in good fruit set, but not before we got snow in October (rare but spectacular): thankfully it caused no damage to crop or vine. November, December and January were very warm to hot, and with below average rainfall, we were looking good with the crop about 2-3 weeks ahead of normal. Then came February and back to normal with rainy conditions until early March, threatening to undo all the progress we had achieved. We were worried, but by mid-March we saw the onset of autumn, the skies turned blue and ripening was near perfect. Remember that in the Southern Highlands we have one of the longest growing/ripening seasons for grapes in the whole of Australia, so anything that can happen with the weather usually does.
ll the wines requiring wood are happily resting in their French oak barrels, while the fresh young unwooded whites are getting ready for bottling in late July. These you will start seeing once they have rested and are ready for release.
Trophies for Centennial- Huon Hooke, SMH Good Food Tuesday March 19, 2013
"Southern Highlands winery Centennial Vineyards performed strongly at the Dan Murphy's 2013 Australian Highlands Wine Show. It won trophies for its 2011 Reserve Orange Shiraz Viognier (best Shiraz and best red wine) and 2010 Woodside Winery Block Chardonnay (best Chardonnay). Centennial's two 2011 pinot noirs - Woodside and Reserve Orange - won gold medals, while its three non-vintage sparkling wines won two bronzes and a silver (a very fine blanc de blancs)." Huon was a judge at the show.
Our Pinot Gris graftings (mentioned last quarter) have taken well, more news on this in next quarter's news.