The day after completing bottling for the 2019 season with Katherine’s Paddock Chardonnay, we’re staring down the barrel of the imminent arrival of the first grapes for the 2020 vintage.
It has been a challenging season. A perfect spring was followed by a hot and dry December, which led into a cooler January of record rainfall with plenty more following in early February.
In a ‘normal’ year, we would be looking at getting underway with the grape harvest from the middle of February, but conditions from this growing season have conspired to delay the onset of ripening to the point where we will most likely commence in the first week of March. This would be the latest start to a harvest in my (now) seven vintages at Levantine Hill - even later than the fabled classically cool and extended 2017 vintage, one of the best so far this century.
So, fingers very crossed, this vintage has the potential to be outstanding!
The first varieties to be picked will be Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, initially for small volumes of sparkling wine, followed by progressive small batch picks from the various individual blocks. Our aim is to capture differing levels of Baumé (sugar level) and physiological ripeness to give us a broad spectrum of aromas and flavours to enhance the complexity and complement the inherent characters of our single vineyard wines.
2020 will also see our first opportunity to make wine from our newly acquired vineyard, previously the famous ‘Fernhill’ vineyard (located next door to our Family Paddocks). Planted predominantly to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this vineyard will also supply small volumes of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This vineyard has the oldest vines under our stewardship so we are excited to see what we can produce and will definitely be featuring some single vineyard wines from this vineyard in the future. Stay tuned for these new-release single vineyard wines with Levantine Hill influence.
This vintage will be our last in our ‘temporary’ winery home of the past seven vintages as our shiny new winery is taking shape before our eyes and will be ready for vintage 2021. We’ve worked with Fender Katsalidis to create something completely customised to our winemaking needs. It’s going to look spectacular and also be highly efficient, with state-of-the-art winemaking technology. However, while it is mesmerising to watch the daily progress of the new winery construction, our eyes are fixed firmly on the prize of the 2020 vintage that is rolling out before us. See you on the other side!
- Paul Bridgeman, Levantine Hill Winemaker