I missed this year’s vintage celebration of our wine growers association – the Upper Goulburn Wine Region (www.uppergoulburnwine.org). The last weekend of April saw wine ethusiasts, vintners, and other local folks descend on the picturesque rural town of mansfield at the foot of Mount Buller where soon the ski and other winter tourists are going to converge for joyful days in the snow.
For the time being it’s still autumn, all grapes have been harvested and the juices of young wines are working hard to become as excellent a wine as in this part of the world we are able to produce. Thanks to our clean natural sorroundings, the hills and northerly slopes, the terroir and our cool climate, the Upper Goulburn Wine region produces outstanding wines.
This year the vintage celebration weekend (25-27th April) consisted of three major events.
1. Cocktails on the Deck on High – an evening reception at this new venue – normally offering Thai cuisine as well as tapas, with a stylish piano bar and an “oriental room” (whatever that means) – in the High Country with cocktail canapes and the best of Upper Goulburn wines matching these delicious finger foods. The guests were entertained by a string duo from Melbourne named “Take Two”.
2. A Day on High – starting at 11 am until 5 pm and covering the main street of mansfield where regional food, wines and other produce are displayed and cwhere all kinds of culinary delights can be tasted. You just purchase a glass for A$ 5 and off you go to taste the new releases of the regions superior wines. This time the entertainment consisted of “Derek Guille and his Ugly Uncles”, a performance band in blues, folk and jazz (more than the usual country stuff of Country and Western).
3. Long Lunch – the lunch took place in the gardens at Highton Manor , a restaurant in a 1896 historic country house right in town. The lunch does not come cheap but with Mount Buller as a backdrop, the selected four course meal prepared by local chefs and served with the best wines from our region, was a true delight.
The 2008 vintage has been very erratic in Australia. In many places, South Australia for instance, it started very early (one month earlier than normal) with many varieties ripening in unpredictable and abnormal order. Various heat waves partially destroyed the crops, gain an example from South Australia where about 100.000 tonnes of grapes were left on the vines. Wineries had to cope with a mass arrival of fruit concentrated in a very short time band.
But in other regions, Gisborn or McLaren Vale for instance, 2008 produced a great vintage. I have not heard too much from neighbours and other members of our association.
We at Two Hills Vineyard had a good year. We did not overcrop, kept yields low for a maximum of flavour and intensity. Our fruit enjoyed great demand. Finally word has spread around that our fruit is of excellent quality and as a consequence we have more interested buyers than we can satisfy.
A small portion of our Merlot fruit will be made into wine, as always at Yering Farm, by Alan Johns and we are looking forward to another excellent Two Hills Merlot wine.