Nikki at RedHeads – day 3

Crunch day, Hoffy, spiders and similar

Not such a good start to the day when the neighbour manages to reverse into my hire car … despite the road being around 15 metres wide! We’ve all done it … or nearly I suppose, but …

car damage

Not a good start to the day … Noël across the way manages to reverse at speed across the 15 metre road into my hire car!

On arrival at RedHeads, met Hoffy, aka Adrian Hoffman, provider of dark delicious Barossa Cabernet. Unfortunately not quite as much dark, delicious Cabernet as Dan had hoped for – .7 tonnes rather than the usual 3 tonnes. That was due to bit of trouble with frost early on in the season. It’s a tough year for growers (even worse in parts of the McLaren where lack of water meant some of the vines went on strike, that is they closed down and the fruit shrivelled up), and for Dan. He’ll be scouting around for some top quality Cabernet grapes now.

hoffy cab

Hoffy’s lovely Cabernet grapes – and hopefully a lovely pic of Hoffy to come

A good two hour warm up with plunging, a little bit by (washed!) foot when the going was really tough, hence the red sock look!

red wine socks

Good colour – must be from the last vat of wonderfully dark Durif. Not sure it shows off my legs to the best advantage.

Met a white spider – didn’t risk it and I’m afraid I squashed it! That was just the first of the wildlife for the day. Alpacas, big sheep (were they really, very long legs!) and a few bobbing kangaroos amongst the vines.

big sheep

This sheep has particularly long legs – cross-breeding with alpacas, we reckoned. Fluffy then!

On the hunt for good Cabernet, Dan and I took off for the edges of Eden Valley to John Erkhart’s vineyard. He was a man full of interesting tales. His vineyards are in a marginal area – the crop is certainly not guaranteed every year, but when it does succeed, well, it’s great stuff.

dan John ekrhard

John Erkhart explaining the intricacies of his vineyard – winds, frost, heat and lovely tiny berries


erkhart cab

The lovely, small Cabernet berries at Erkharts promised well – but won’t be ready for harvest for another 2-3 weeks

We had another important vineyard stop on the way back – to Robin Day’s (Aussie guy, not the former presenter!) vineyards. It’s quite an impressive array of largely Italian grapes – Garganega, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and, not Italian at all but Georgian, Saperavi! It was quite an array we tested for their sugar level with the refractometer!


Garganega grapes come in long, spaced-out bunches


Nebbiolo bunches were really tightly packed in


Dan looking through the refractometer, checking out what Baume each variety had reached

Interesting day … and less sticky!



About Laithwaite's Wine

Laithwaite's began in 1969, when Tony Laithwaite took a job washing bottles in Bordeaux... and fell in love with real wine and the people who make it. When he borrowed a van to share these delicious wines with friends and neighbours at home, things went so well that boutique wineries were soon queuing to take part. Today we're the UK's No.1 home-delivery wine merchant, with over 1,500 wines to choose from... including red, white and rosé, plus Champagne and sparkling, beer and cider.

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