Vintage 2021 Wrap-Up

As vintage 2021 approached we held our communal breath and hoped that we would be spared any major issues this time around.

We were half way through the 2020 vintage when the pandemic struck and half our work force disappeared, rushing to get home to distant parts of the world before borders slammed shut. We battled on and whilst being very short-staffed managed to produce some pretty decent offerings, so the vintage was definitely not a write off.

Thankfully the stars aligned and we were spared a repeat of 2020. And we should not forget that we were very fortunate when compared with so many others.

In fact vintage 2021 has been one out the box for Balgownie as the lovely cool conditions during the growing season have provided us with some of the best fruit that I have seen from our vineyards here in Bendigo and the Yarra Valley. At the same time cropping levels in Bendigo returned to being above the long term average as we had no issues with frost or hail unlike the 2020 growing season. Our Yarra vineyards had another small crop but with the sort of quality that provides a silver lining.

Cool years like vintage 2021 provide long slow ripening conditions which allow for the full natural ripening of the fruit with moderate sugar levels, lovely mature tannins and excellent levels of natural acidity. The subsequent wines have great freshness, brilliant vibrant colours and clear varietal expression. The longer ripening period also meant that vintage extended out from the 10thof February until the last pick on the 10thof April which places vintage 2021 in the top 3 of longest Balgownie harvests alongside 2000 and 2012. All these vintages took place over a 2 month period.

There are cracking batches across all our varietals. Whilst always difficult to call out best of vintage at this early stage of development we have notably good batches in Chardonnay (Yarra), Viognier, Nouveau Syrah, Pinot Noir (both Yarra and Macedon), Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Our 3rdvintage of the Nouveau Syrah is particularly pleasing with its elegant palate, low alcohol (only 12%) and wildly attractive bouquet.

All up a great team effort and we have something from this vintage for every palate. We look forward to as it slowly matures getting ready to be bottled.

-Chief Winemaker Tony Winspear