2020 was a hard year for most, but the Canberra district wine region really suffered.
A smokey end of 2019 and start of 2020 left whole vineyards full of basically unusable grapes.
In early July last year we met some of the Collector Wines team and experienced the start of 2021 wine season.
You can read the first brand profile here!
The wine season (vintage) starts with pruning of the grape vines in the vineyard.
Collector Wines manages a collection of privately owned vineyards in the Canberra region and are passionate about sustainable agricultural practices. They are taking a really hands off, organic approach; with their ethos being that great wine comes from healthy vineyards.
We met Emma and the team in the vineyards towards the end of Vintage 2021.
Vintage is essentially the period of time the grapes are harvested and the wine is prepared, fermented and crushed.
Alex described Vintage as a 'big adrenalin rush' - and we could see why!
Teams of workers scurry up and down the vineyard, carefully but with such efficiency harvesting bunches of ripe juicy grapes. Runners take full lugs up to a trailing tractor collecting the vast amount of fruit.
It was a beautiful early morning with golden light streaming through the green vines. Morning dew collecting and dripping from leaves, glistening on the grapes.
We were in the Murrumbateman area this time, and just 5 minutes up the dirt road from the vineyard is where Collector Wines process, ferment and make their delicious wines!
Enormous containers of freshly picked grapes are driven up the road and the wine making process begins.
Each wine has its own process as well as a unique blend of grapes. Each wine maker has their own way of processing and fermenting the grapes to give distinct flavour profiles and tones.
It really is part science and part art. Emma tests the wine in a mini lab onsite at each stage, monitoring the chemical makeup of each batch ensuring quality and consistency. Emma tells us you can really see the difference between healthy, maintained vineyards and stressed ones; you can also observe environmental factors such as drought or too much rain or smoke taint!
So much work goes into one bottle of wine...
This year Canberra is celebrating 50 years of wine!
Although grapes have been grown in the Canberra district since the 1840s, it was in 1970s that the industry really started to make strides and come into it's own.
Our wine making industry is now made up of numerous vineyards, wineries and their enticing cellar doors! Many of these Canberra district wineries are award winning. We boast a healthy, growing and top-notch industry and we are being noticed.