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Day 16 of Clare Valley Vintage - Nuturing grapes for the future

Published:  23 July, 2008

G'day Folks. There really is something very special about being born on February the 29th.

I can only imagine you must feel rather extraordinary for being - well just being you. It's almost like you're born with that extra joie de vivre, with a spring in your step and with good luck on your side. Today has definitely been one of those special, sort of unreal, kind of vintage days and I have celebrated every last second.

New wines were born today obviously the vines were planted a while ago and so one could argue their true age but given that on this very special day, you only celebrate a birthday every four years, I'm convinced that these wines in my future will continue to look four times as youthful as everyone else's from this vintage. That's so exciting.

I was here, there and everywhere today and when you want to be giving as much attention to your Rieslings as to your Shiraz it can be rather difficult. Even the lonely Cabernet still out on the vine must be thinking I've forgotten about it all together. How on earth do you share your time without playing favourites?

When you have reds to pump over, barrels to taste and Riesling juices to prepare for ferment, a winemaker can't be spreading themselves too thinly. Wines that don't receive enough attention in their youth certainly show it once in bottle. Like so many I know, they're the ones in need of therapy.

There's no doubt I have my special blocks or parcels of fruit - it's the soil and the micro climates that make them great, but sometimes the great parcels get neglected a little since you already know they are strong. They sometimes end up fending for themselves for a few days. God I feel guilty just saying it.

As the custodian of numerous vinous parcels, there is sometimes the propensity to give the weaker wines the greater attention. They're often the ones that need the improving. Honestly how can you decide between one child's parent teacher interview over another? Do you endure hearing about the recalcitrant child that needs improving or do you self indulge about your straight A student who doesn't fall far from the tree?

If you're a subscriber to my own theory then you'll know that when your whole family is together, despite the dysfunction, everything sort of fits better. It's not so much about the best one there but about the history, the gene pool and the fact that you all love each other despite all your flaws. It's so much easier to understand what's in the glass when you have kicked the dirt, laughed with the makers and understood their stories. The total portfolio just makes sense.

February 29th is like a free day it has superhero powers. It's a day to open that great bottle you've been saving and share it with someone special...who wants to wait another 4 years? I guarantee you it will shine.

Kerri Thompson is winemaker/director of KT & The Falcon