Another one of my lot has left to help the Aussies with their 2015 vintage. Wordsmith Nikki is the newest cellar hand at the RedHeads Wine Studio in the Barossa Valley. And although she may be making wine rather than writing about it, she’s not straying far from her keyboard … here’s the first entry in her diary of the vintage.
First Day … a gentle introduction for me, Dan’s new cellarhand
Landed at Adelaide airport last night … only from New Zealand, so I’m pretty much in the time zone at least (2.5 hours difference), and managed to find my way in the dark to lodgings. Ok, that was only thanks to ‘Audrey’, the satnav. For once the barking voice was reasonable company on the drive up.
It was Audrey again who guided me to 733b Light Pass Road, to RedHeads-of-the-Barossa Wine Studio. Glorious sunny morning – maybe it always is during the summer – and found Dan at work.
I’d been talking about treading grapes by foot for weeks; my Hunter Valley companions on the last flight were sure that wouldn’t be happening, but first job … climb in the big tub and get marching on those little McLaren Vale Grenache berries. I couldn’t wait! And yes, it’s tiring, especially with short legs! Gotta get those knees high.
Next job – pressing. It was the Shiraz today. That’s quite a manual job. Hands go quickly from normal colour to deep purple-grained hue … bucketing all those skins and juice into the basket press. It smells wonderful though – deep, chocolaty, raisiny aroma, leaving you quite heady (that’s the alcohol evaporating). Then gently, gently, squeeze, squeeze in the basket press and all the juice is pumped into the stainless steel vat.
Outcome, when you release the basket press, is a wonderful tall cake of skins and stems. Looks great, but it’s hard work to break up and shove in a container for disposal. Sticky, too.
Did three containers worth … quite a few to go.