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Day 33 of the Clare Valley Vintage - Getting the house in order

Published:  23 July, 2008

G'day Folks. When it comes to a tsunami of grapes - there's generally little time to sit around and smell the roses and so finally when the tide subsides it's time to throw nose to glass. Or at least throw something.

Of course it's always great to be busy but sometimes you need some time to review which direction vintage is taking you. Fortunately we had an opportunity over the weekend to play catch up and so at the risk of looking like I'm making myself feel better by ticking off some of the to do list.. here goes

1. All Riesling juices racked and prepared for inoculation for ferment. With the relentless hot weather we've needed to be careful that our juices - like a petulant child, receive the attention they desire. I'm sure those with children will tell me that requires some attention. With a couple of yeast cultures nurtured to do their business, we now have a couple of tanks fermenting. Starting the first one for some reason is always the hardest and I think it's because you know your stress levels are about to build. We now have a plan of attack ready to deploy so that all Riesling's will be bubbling happily by the end of the week. With a cooler fermentation regime planned to help build some texture in our wines, there is around the clock attention just like a parent it seems.

2. All Cabernet's basket pressed. After around 10 days on skins, they are safely in tank and getting ready for filling to barrel. With all of their lifted varietal expression it's hard not to notice them since they are leaping out of the glass and crying for attention. Now if only the French coopers might like to listen to own cries of attention and send us our barrels.. ASAP.. sil vous plait..

3. With fruit harvest now complete all processing equipment has been scrubbed, sanitised, scrubbed, cleaned and scrubbed a little more. The temptation is to leave it for the year when you have all the time in the world but that job requires dedication now, so imagine how much more it would need in 12 months time. That's far too much elbow grease to even contemplate.

In addition to this list we've been stirring barrels ferments on their lees, gassing tanks and checking sulfur levels, topping barrels, irrigating the recently harvested vineyard blocks, testing malos and cleaning tanks. Writing this is now also reminding me to organise last year's red barrel racking, rack the Muscat off it's lees and start planning the vineyard inputs over Winter.

Oh Dear it's clear I've just started another to do list

Kerri Thompson is winemaker/director of KT & The Falcon