Vintage 2014: Heathcote
Regionality is the driving force behind Two Hands Wines. It gives rise to the Garden Series, an unprecedented portfolio of Australian Shiraz consisting of a wine from each of six distinct regions. As the winery says, “One grape variety, one vintage, one winemaker – soils and climate are the only way of differentiation.” Making great wine from such disparate regions – the Barossa (Bella’s), McLaren Vale (Lily’s), Clare Valley (Samantha’s), Langhorne Creek (Harry & Edward’s), Padthaway (Sophie’s) and Heathcote (Max’s) – is a daunting but exhilarating task that gives the Two Hands team a unique perspective on wine growing in Australia each vintage. With that in mind, Winemaker Ben Perkins has put together a series of reports on the recently completed 2014 growing season. Today, Ben’s final report takes us to far-flung Heathcote, a plane trip and a long car ride away in Victoria.
By Ben Perkins, Winemaker
After a winter of moderate rainfall, the growing season remained mostly warm and dry. Frosts during flowering affected most of the region and low to very low yields were common in the reports coming from vintners. Luckily, our vineyard sits on the slopes of the Mount Camel Range at Colbinabbin and was spared the worst of the frost. The warm, dry conditions through the growing season and the extreme conditions in January and early February did pose threats of further crop loss. Good irrigation management and sufficient canopy length helped negate the worst of the effects. For the first time, we hand-picked a section of the vineyard, providing us with some further options for handling in the winery, including use of whole bunches and whole berries in the fermentation. The fruit was picked in good condition on March 15 and brought directly to our winery in the Barossa Valley for processing. At this early stage, the wine looks very solid.
As vintage slowly descends into the recesses of our minds, post-malo racking has begun in earnest. Suffice to say, it has been a rather interesting vintage and one which has, remarkably, turned out some excellent wines. I can’t wait to see how they turn out when we begin classification tasting in late August.
See these additional posts in the Vintage Report series: