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Vintage 2018 Update:

Ray Nadeson of Lethbridge Wines, Geelong

With the 2018 Vintage in various stages of completion across the country, we took a moment to talk with Lethbridge Wines' very own Ray Nadeson to get an update on how the 2018 vintage is progressing in Geelongs, Moorabool Valley.

What, so far, are you seeing with vintage 2018? What is looking promising?

“Well, I know that every single vintage every single winemaker says it’s the ‘Vintage of the Century’. Well, it’s not the vintage of the century, but, it’s a very, very good one.

Just to give you a bit of background we had, what I thought, was probably one of the best vintages I’ve ever made in 2017. It was pretty close to previous vintages which were awesome, ’05 and '15. I've always felt ’17, ’15 and ’05 were the best.

So, I thought, we’ve had a good run and that’ll be that but it’s turned out that this year looks really awesome as well. I’ll wait and see if it’s as good as ’17.”

What is standing out among all of your different varieties?

“Well, that’s the thing. Great vintages sometimes, what makes them great - especially when you have such a great range as we have - sometimes everything looks really, really good and that’s why I say that with great caution because I don’t want to sound like ‘Everything’s fantastic’ and just say that again next year.

Everything looks good across that board and I’ll tell you why, and this is the important part. We had really good rains in spring. So, we ended up with good soil moisture. That makes a big difference. The start of the vintage was fantastic. Also, having had good rains the year before, our dams were full so we were able to irrigate when things went dry over December, January and February – which were really dry but weren’t hot. Which has been amazing."

Picking: Working hard in the Lethbridge Wines homeblock vineyards

How were this year's yields?

"That's the other thing that’s been amazing. Because we didn’t have any rain in November we ended up with really awesome fruit set across the vineyard. What ends up happening with really good fruit set is that you have a very even ripening because all of the flowers came out at the same time, they were pollinated at the same time, they set the fruit at the same time so instead of fruit set taking two weeks it was done within a week. So, all the berries were equally the same. That makes a very even flavour profile in the berries across the vineyard. That doesn’t happen very often.

We’ve also had a disease-free year because we’ve had little rain.”

The Moorabool Valley is one of the cooler sub-regions of Geelong. How has that affected the vintage?

“Moorabool Valley is the coolest spot in Geelong. [As a result] We’re still picking the fruit. Everyone else is on holiday. We picked today, we’ll pick tomorrow, we’ll pick next week; we’ll be picking for another two weeks.

While I know for a fact just about all the fruit from the rest of Geelong has been picked. We’re much cooler than the Yarra, which has been picked for a month. Much cooler than Mornington, which has also been picked for a month. My friends in the Hunter have been picked for three months. So, we’re by far the coolest.

Thanks for your time Ray and good luck with the rest of vintage.

"Thank you."