The first fruit of the year has been picked, pressed and is fermenting in the winery! On Tuesday 13th September the Ortega was picked from The Brokes – the block on the far right as you head up the main drive away from the hotel. Ripe, with good acidity, it will finish alcoholic fermentation (the process of yeasts converting the juice’s sugar to alcohol) in about ten days from now.
2022’s edition of Orange Solaris was picked, by hand, on Wednesday 14th September. The grapes were extremely tasty – exactly what the winemaker is looking for when making a skin contact. We’re really excited about this wine and, as the current release has been very well received, we’ve made more this year – the equivalent of around 12,000 bottles. We’ll be looking for ‘wax-topping’ assistants in Spring 2023! (Wax topping is being used instead of foil caps for this particular premium varietal).
Over the month the winery’s staff levels will double, with Cellar Hands coming from around the world to assist us in making this year’s wines. Keep your ears open for accents from Bulgaria, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Essex! This is a great opportunity for individuals aspiring to gain experience in this exciting growth profession.
The vineyard team have done amazing work in the vineyard over the Summer. The grapes and canopy are both looking healthy. You may have noticed the team pulling some leaves from vines. This process allows the grapes to dry quicker after rainfall and lower the risk of disease spread. It also gives greater sunlight access – meaning the grapes will, ultimately, be riper. Brilliantly, this has been done on most of our premium blocks this year, and we can’t wait to see those grapes arrive in the winery.
The left-hand-side of the main building is going to be really busy over the next six weeks. The area by the presses, known as The Crush Pad, will be in action nearly every day – and often we’ll be working late into the night (or early morning).