Clayfield Wines - Meet the Maker

Spring is a lovely time in the Grampians, particularly with the grapevines flourishing and wildflowers everywhere. The grass is still green, farmer’s crops of canola and other grains paint the land scape with bright yellow and green and the sparkle of reflected sun shine from the nearly full dams dot over the landscape.

Currently it’s mid-November and our Moyston vineyard is looking terrific. The rains have ensured vigourous growth on the back of a frost-free start to the season. The only downside is that being an organic grape grower, the grass growing throughout the vineyard requires slashing several times and the next pass will be on the ride on mower rather than the tractor. Every few years the under vine grass gets mown with my trusty hand push mower, up and back, every row in and out between the vines and posts which in total is about 14 kms. It takes the best part of a week to complete!

Some might think I’m a little daft doing it this way, well maybe they are right but the vines respond so well having a close layer of green cut grass. This reduces water evaporation and encourages the earth worms and soil microbes to flourish. In my mind this helps grow better grapes.

All too soon the summer heat will be upon us and strategic watering will be needed, in our situation where there is a lack of abundant water our final yield will be determined by timely watering and hopefully some nice rain.     

Looking back at the 2020 vintage it was widely reported that yields were significantly down, here it was reduced by 50%. The fruitfulness of the grapevine is determined by the climate and weather conditions in the Spring two years prior to harvest i.e. Spring of 2018 determined the bunch numbers for the 2020 harvest. This is a rule of thumb albeit with some exceptions as there are several other factors at play, for example pruning level which determines the number of buds per hectare and the number of vines per hectare. So one site may be very different than another depending on planting densities etc.

All things being favourable not only is the 2021 yield look very good at this stage but 2022 should be as well.

At Clayfield Wines we do not hurry to bottle or release our wines, the most recent wines on sale are our Ton Up 2017 Shiraz accompanied with 2013 Black Label, 2016 Massif Reserve and 2015 Pallah Merlot/Shiraz. The 2018 and 2019 vintages are still in barrel, quietly maturing for a little while longer.

The 2019 Grampians vintage is highly regarded. Currently the 2019 Grampians Winemakers Barrique Shiraz is being assembled and local winemakers are very enthusiastic about the wine. Let’s hope we have a better year ahead and all get together at the Grampians Grape Escape next May to enjoy all the exceptional wine and produce the Grampians has to offer.

Cheers,
Simon Clayfield