Vintage  Update Ray Anderson, Lethbridge Wines Geelong

What are your thoughts on vintage 2018 so far? What looks promising?

“Well, I know that every winemaker claims it’s the Vintage of the Century. It’s not the best vintage, but it is very good.

To give you some background, I think this was one of the most memorable vintages I ever made in 2017. It was very close to the previous great vintages ’05 & ’15. I have always believed that ’17, 2015 and ’05 were the best.

So I thought we’d had a good run, so that’ll be it. But, it turns out that this year is just as amazing. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s even as good as 2017.

What makes your variety stand out from the rest?

That’s the truth. Sometimes great vintages are great, which makes them so great, especially when you have such an amazing range as we do.

It looks great across the board. I’ll tell you why. This is the most important part. Spring brought us some great rains. We ended up with good soil water. This makes a huge difference. It was a wonderful start to the vintage. We could also irrigate because we had received good rains the previous year. This allowed us to water when it was dry. This has been incredible.

What were the yields this year?

“That’s another thing that’s been incredible. We had a great fruit set because we didn’t get any rain in November. The beauty of a good fruit set is that it results in a much more even ripening. This is because all the flowers were out simultaneously and pollinated simultaneously. The fruit set took less than a week. All the berries were the same. This results in a very uniform flavor profile across all the berries. This doesn’t happen often.

Because we have had very little rain, we’ve been disease-free for the past year.

Geelong’s Moorabool Valley is among the coolest sub-regions. What has this done to the vintage?

“Moorabool Valley in Geelong is the coolest place. As a result, we’re still picking fruit. Everyone else is currently on vacation. We picked today, tomorrow, and next week, and we’ll pick for two more weeks.

Although I do not know the exact number of fruit picked in Geelong, I am confident. We are cooler than the Yarra, which has been picked for a whole month. It’s much cooler than Mornington, also picked for a month. My Hunter friends have been selected for three months. We are by far the coolest.

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