2013 China Grape Harvest - Ningxia

China vintage 2013

My second harvest in Ningxia, China whooohooo!

It was great to be back in Ningxia for the 2013 harvest. Dry growing conditions meant the vines were in great shape and this was a welcome change from the 2012 season. 

I arrived mid-September and was harvesting Chardonnay at the ‘Jinsha’ winery within the week. 

Jinsha means gold sand and is typical of the soils directly south of Yinchuan where the winery is located.

This was the second year of the Ningxia Wine Challenge and my competitors were from Spain and France. Local winery staff were very interested in the different techniques each of us employed and my interpreter was exhausted by the end of day one.

All barrels are now safely through ferment and ageing on some very complex lees. I’m looking forward to my next visit.

Following the white harvest I headed off to Chateau Yuhuang situated along the Helan mountain range 1.5 hours southwest of Yinchuan.  Vine health was much improved compared with the previous season. 

To concentrate flavours, I choose to leave harvesting until the last possible moment. The end result was ferments full of colour and concentrated flavours.

Can’t wait to get back and see the results, chow down some dumplings, hit the KTV and "gan bei Ningxia wine!".

Posted on November 8, 2013 .

Young Winemaker of the Year Nominee

I’m elated to have been nominated for the 2013 Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year Award. 

Since starting in the wine industry in Adelaide Hills more than 20 years ago as a very green 13-year-old, I’ve enjoyed the buzz and excitement of the winery, and the challenge of no two vintages ever being the same.

What started out as a way to make some money in the school holidays, has evolved into what I feel is a very fortunate livelihood. 

Winemaking not only gives me the opportunity to travel the world to work and learn from some of the rockstars of the industry, it allows me to share that knowledge with others and continuously hone my trade.

Winning Young Winemaker of the Year would be a huge honour, and would only compel me to continue to learn, experience new winemaking techniques and teach others what wine means to me.

Posted on September 25, 2013 .

These are my salad days


It's been celebration time this week for me.  Two Cirro wines won Gold Medals in the Decanter World Wine Awards in London.  The awarded wines were the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2010 Pinot Noir - both of which were made with Marlborough grapes.

Myself and fellow winemaker, Richard Green, are pretty proud of this success as very few of the thousands of wines entered reach gold status.  

It's interesting as I deliberately made the 2012 Savvy as a wine that would be an early drinker, rather than showing better after 14 months in bottle - but oddly enough the cold summer of 2012 has meant that the acid is still in abundance and although the wine had early punch, it still is aging delicately and drinking very well.  

As a Scottish poet once said, "The best laid plans of mice and men.......often end in gold medals at the Decanter World Wine Awards."

Posted on June 3, 2013 .