October 2021 Newsletter
The sheep play an important part in the del Rios' vineyard ecosystem. They eat down the grass around the vineyard, enriching the terroir and contribute to a better farm to table experience in the restaurant.
After a Winter spent grazing around the vineyard, the sheep are in great condition for the lambing season. We had an addition of 50-60 new lambs this season and are excited to see them grow.
The vines are coming out of dormancy with the first buds emerging in late August on the Chardonnay vines in Block 7 and 11. Each vine is hand trimmed, unwanted shoots are removed to facilitate the best possible canopy growth and fruit production for the upcoming growing season.
Shoots are trained to grow upwards for leaf coverage, evenly spaced along the canes at 10-15cm intervals for even distribution of nutrients.
5-6 shoots are left on the head for next year’s cane selection.
The winemaker’s assistant and niece, Deanna, has been replanting vines to replace those that have not made it over the years. The very vines her mother Angie had helped Gus plant 25 years ago while still pregnant with Deanna. You can say she has grown up alongside the vineyard, knowing the ins and outs and we are very happy to have her on board.
Most of the replanting happened with Chardonnay in Block 11, Shiraz in Block 4 and Cabernet in Block 12/13.
Cane cuttings were planted during 2020 in the nursery, these were transferred to freshly drilled holes filled with water. It will take at least 3 years to train these vines before they start producing fruit.
We have further built out our Farm to Table offering. We are currently featuring 3-year-old steers Black Angus, older than usual; we have done this to highlight flavour development and complexity. The prime cuts are dry-aged on-site for between 2 and 8 weeks to tenderize and develop further.
The construction of 'The Ledge', our new outdoor bar, has started and is on track to be ready by summer. It's a cocktail and tapas bar with panoramic views overlooking the estate and llama paddocks. We are currently curating the cocktail and tapas list, which shaping up to be a delight.
The 18' Vintage is on track to be released by the end of 2021, featuring some absolute stellar wines, including a memorable Reserve Pinot.