Vintage 2010 in the Granite Belt, Macedon Ranges and the Tamar Valley
A roundup from three beautiful wine regions
By Sara Schwarz
Vintage (harvest to Americans, vendage to the French) is a frantic few months each year when the usually peaceful vineyards and wineries come to life as the grapes ripen to perfection and are harvested.
Now is a picturesque time to be out exploring the regions. The vines are laden with fruit and healthy green foliage. The mood is a celebratory one and the weather is generally perfect for numerous tempting food, wine and music events.
Vintage begins in Australia any time between mid Summer and mid Autumn. Generally in the warmer regions - think southern Queensland - winemakers have their feet up relaxing with a cold beer before Tasmanians are even thinking of picking their grapes.
Here’s a small round up to whet your appetite from the Queensland's Granite Belt via Victoria's Macedon Ranges to the Tamar Valley in Northern Tasmania.
Granite Belt (Queensland): the vintage
A percentage of the population may be unaware wine is made in Queensland, what a shame! The Granite Belt region of S.E. Queensland produces some truly wonderful and award winning wines.
While old favourites such as chardonnay and shiraz do very well here, so too do a number of alternative varietals including the delicious viognier, mourvedre and tempranillo, a Spanish red grape perfect for the sunny Australian lifestyle. These wine loving Queenslanders adore these alternate varieties so much, they've launched the Granite Belt Alternative Wine Trail in their honour.
Jim Barnes, winemaker for Hidden Creek reports the 2010 Vintage starting a little earlier than in previous years resulting from some warmer weather patterns so most of the white grapes have now been picked and crushed and the juices are happily fermenting away in tanks. The red varieties won't be very far behind either.
This year, the size of grape bunches and berries are a little smaller than in previous years. In fact, this is a real bonus for the wine consumer as the grape juice is richer and more concentrated resulting in tastier, more flavoursome wines for us!
Macedon Ranges (Victoria): the vintage
The Macedon Ranges region is renowned for their truly superb sparkling wines, crisp whites and elegant reds. Grapes for sparkling wines will have been well and truly picked by now however Vintage will continue across the region until mid April in the higher areas, however, with a bit of luck winemakers will have time for a chat in cellar door come Easter.
Hanging Rock Wines: For those with an appreciation for truly fine bubbles, head to Hanging Rock Wines wines for their Brut Rose, Cuvee XII and the Landmark Australia wine, the ‘LD’ Brut Cuvee VIII. One of the finest in the country, the ‘LD’ has been presented as a benchmark for sparkling wines to visiting international tasting panels.
For the more modest budget, the insiders’ tip to look out for is Hanging Rock’s 2010 Jim Jim Sauvignon Blanc. While it won't be released for some months yet it looks set to be a great wine for the following spring and summer.
Granite Hills Winery: Up along a winding bush track, Llew Knight is quietly excited by the 2010 vintage with the pinot noir, riesling, shiraz and cabernet all looking excellent. Although budburst was a little late in 2009, vintage is still looking likely to begin at the end of the month as per usual.
It's Granite Hill's 40th birthday this year - 40 years since the Knights first planted their vineyard in 1970 with hundreds of awards coming their way since, so stay tuned for some rather special events. Just give them the chance to work their way through Vintage first.
Tamar Valley (Tasmania): the vintage
The Tamar Valley is home to over 55 licensed wine producers all within easy access from Launceston. Dr Andrew Pirie, Chief Winemaker at Rosevears Vineyard (and general Tasmanian wine guru) reports the 2010 vintage to be looking very positive indeed across the region.
Above average winter and early spring rainfall followed by long periods of fine, mild weather has greatly assisted vine and berry growth while the continuing warm weather in early 2010 has resulted in faster grape ripening than usual. The first harvest of fruit (for sparkling wines), looks set to commence in early March with the harvest continuing until the end of April.
April 10th to 20th looks to be a wonderful time to book a chalet at Rosevears Vineyard, Tasmania's leading wine retreat. Harvest will be in full swing and you can enjoy the action from your chalet or Estelle's Restaurant and spend a few days exploring the region.
- Granite Belt (QLD)
- Launceston (TAS)
- Tamar Valley (TAS)
- Macedon Ranges (Wine) (VIC)
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