This years grape harvest was good, despite grueling heat wave conditions prior to harvest. The heat wave caught the Chardonnay just before harvest but the acidity of the Semillon held up remarkably well. The Merlot suffered from early moisture stress and late season berry shrivel, but weighed in at harvest with over 14.5 baume sugar and the wine is looking good now. Overall the fruit quality was very good, in particular the Shiraz, which appears most suited to the harsh drought conditions.
The wines are going well in the fiercely competitive market, with Oliver Statham now the sales manager in Sydney most of the time and Sam doing more marketing and promotion domestically and overseas. The interest in organic farming and wine is growing with people’s awareness of food safety, pollution, sustainability and regionality. Schools, tertiary student groups and farmers visit Rosnay on a regular basis to learn about organic farming.
New outlets being found all the time (including David Jones stores nationwide) are listed on our website www.rosnaywines.com.au . Sponsorship of “organic” events is also important – such as supporting organic workshops, dinners and like minded organizations including “Reverse Garbage” in Brisbane.
Meanwhile, the evolution of the wines has been fascinating to watch, and we hope that you will join us to investigate this at the vertical tastings on Saturday October 2, Springfest weekend.
The Reds: In June Rosnay won a Silver Medal for the 2003 Triple Blend in the Asia International Wine Challenge. After skipping a year due to poor ripening and frost, it follows the footsteps of the 2001. After hours of blending trials with Graham Kerr, we came up with a medium bodied wine which has a briary nose, solid dark colour, and supple fruitiness. The wine also won a bronze at the NSW Small Winemakers Show in Forbes in August, in a show of 700 participants.
At the same show, Rosnay also won a Gold Medal for the unreleased 2003 Shiraz. To be launched at the Vertical Tasting to be held on Saturday 2nd October, this wine is a big Aussie red and a classic full bodied Shiraz. Made by John Holmes at Windowrie Estate, a large proportion of this vintage was distributed to households across Australia through the Wine Selectors wine club. We look forward to releasing the 2003 Shiraz made by John Cassegrain, which should be just as good with a softer palate from ageing in oak barrels for over 12 months. The 2001 Shiraz remains, of course, the master of the reds, and having mellowed a lot since winning Best Red of the Cowra Region in November 2002, it has great character and always a favourite. It is available only from the Cellar door and good restaurants, including Selkirk’s at Orange.
The Whites: The 2003 Chardonnay Semillon was crisp and fresh when bottled, and in the last 12 months the 40% Semillon has developed in the bottle to fill out and balance the palate. Meanwhile the freshness of this wine has not been lost, due to the Stelvin cap.
The new 2004 Whites are looking very good, with the Chardonnay and Semillon being made separately at Windowrie, and a smaller volume of Chardonnay-Semillon blend being made by Chris Derez and Lucy Maddox at Burke and Hills Winery, near Cargo. All well balanced wines in Rosnay’s typical fresh and fruity unwooded style, we look forward to bottling these in November for release early in 2005.
Despite the drought, production is continuing to grow.
• The vegetables were a great success over the 2003-2004 summer, and Greg has harvested cauliflower and planted more lettuce over the last few weeks.
• Oats has been “advance sown” (direct drilled before rain) over blocks 7, 12 and 2 (in the olives) producing good organic matter for soil improvement and grazing by the 850 sheep (seen primarily as a land management tool).
• Spelt wheat has been sown on blocks 7, 8, 10 and 11 and should crop reasonably well. It will be sold to millers and bakers from December.
• The olive harvest was good, up 400% on last years yield with the new facilities for pickling working well. The kalamatas will be launched on November 7 (Cowra Food and Wine Weekend). A small volume of 2004 Olive Oil was also produced to be sold through the Cellar Door (or a future “Farm Shop”) and through fine food outlets. The oil won a bronze medal at the Cowra Show.
We estimate that without good rains as we enter the coming Summer, we will have lower subsoil moisture levels than this time last year. Add to that the zero allocation of surface water for irrigation (Carcoar Dam at 8%) we will need to carefully manage our crops this year according to our limited water resources. The Spring weather has been beautiful so far and we hope you can enjoy it with us before the summer heat.
THE “ROSNAY ORGANIC FARMS“ PROJECT
After six years the Rosnay concept of a Community Title organic farm has been realized – with 6 “partners” now working together for sustainable, high quality organic production. The team is a diverse group of people with a range of skills and interests, which is seen as the core strength of the project – and the completion of the first phase of the development. It now includes Richard and Florence Statham who bought the original farm in1995; “Herb” and Jenny Gardner, who were the first to join in 2001; Margie Crowther and Andrew Wooldridge, 2003; Greg and Katie Kocanda, 2004; Sue and Steve Brown, 2004, Sam Statham and Simone Le Mesurier, 2004, and Rob and Marjorie Lamrock. Australian Certified Organic continues to certify all growers. Together, the group of new owners is developing
• Landscape and architecture standards: These are being developed at present as the basis for the continuation of innovative ecological design and recycled or low environmental impact materials such as straw bale;
• Animal management standards: These aim to protect native wildlife by keeping cats indoors, keeping us sane by keeping roosters away from bedrooms, and facilitating a joint venture rotational grazing enterprise managed by Andrew and Margie;
• Road and equipment OHS plans; and
Irrigation management plans to use our limited water resources as efficiently as possible.
SATURDAY 2 OCTOBER – CANOWINDRA SPRINGFEST – This October Long Weekend (2-4 October) is Canowindra Springfest again, with a full program of art workshops and entertainment now in print (call Bob on 63441000) or online at www.springfest.com.au. The Official Opening of Springfest is at7pm on Thursday 23 September, with the Canowindra Art Network’s Art exhibition, ‘Equinox’. The Left Bank, Old Vic and Melissa Barber Galleries will also mount new exhibitions from the Network. As part of Springfest, the Rosnay farms will be offering:
• PERMACULTURE WORKSHOPS: At 10am and 3.30pm Margie Crowther is running introductory permaculture workshops, for people to learn about permaculture and meet others with the same interest, to see a permaculture keyhole garden and chook tractors, and see a working organic farm which uses elements of permaculture. By Donation. Ph 6344 3286
• ORGANIC FARMERS LUNCH: Lunch will be prepared by Florence Statham and others from Rosnay for $10 a plate at the old house at 12.30pm. Bookings are appreciated for catering purposes, and tickets are at the gate. Rosnay Wines will be available from the cellar door. Walk lunch off around the vineyard.
• VERTICAL TASTING: Wine enthusiasts are invited to join us for a first ever vertical tasting of all old and new vintages at 12pmand 3pm, but numbers are limited, so please book early.
SUNDAY 17 OCTOBER – A BUSH PICNIC “A Bush Picnic” is being held to raise funds for Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) Sudan Emergency Appeal. On Sunday 17th October the Churches of Canowindra, Woodstock, Cranbury and Cudal are holding an Ecumenical Worship Service at 11.30am followed by a Bush Picnic by the Belubula River, at “Rosnay”, Rivers Road. Join us after lunch for a 7km “wilderness” walk along the river back to Canowindra, where a bus will take you back to your car at Rosnay. Donated prizes will be raffled, there will be entertainment and games for children. Proceeds will go to the MSF Sudan Appeal. Contact: Rev’d Margaret Finlay on (02) 6344 1643
SATURDAY 6 NOVEMBER – THE CORK ‘N’ FORK Wine tasting, gourmet food, comic performers, live music, and children’s activities feature at Cowra’s annual good taste celebration. Held at the Cowra Pavilion, Mid Western Highway 11am – 4pm on Saturday 6th November, this is the place to enjoy all of the food and wine of the Cowra region in one place on one big day. Childflight will benefit from funds raised at the 2004 Cowra Cork and Fork. Entry Fee: $10. Bookings: not required. Contact: Cowra Visitor’s Centre 6342 4333.
SUNDAY 7 NOVEMBER – WINE TOUR
On Sunday the 7th of November, Des from the Riverview Motel will run a bus tour of the Canowindra Cellar Doors leaving at 9.30 am, including Bindaree Estate, Wallingtons, Tom’s Waterhole and The Falls, followed by Rosnay. Join us at 3.30pm to taste the 2004 Kalamata Olives, which will be publicly launched and tasted with Rosnay Wines. Contact Des on 6344 1633.