Winter 2018… 21 Years on and Still Rocking
July 3, 2018
Its been 21 years since we planted the first vines here at Rivers Road, Canowindra, in October 1997, and we’re still rocking!
Looking back through the wet and the dry, the hot and dusty, the wild and frosty, we can see things improving… The slow recovery of the wine industry combined with mature vines and some new exciting varieties is giving us the optimism not only to keep going and make more interesting and unique wines, but to actually build a winery! Having an extra 8 x 14m of massively insulated “cave” space will help us to make more and better wines without having to shuffle them around olives and events in the cellar door. Its been very exciting, and with the help of local builders, and neighbours, today the frame of the new winery can be seen hanging off the west end of the original 1930’s machinery shed, ready to be lined with local straw bales and rendered, tanks and barrels installed, with chillers, crusher, press, pumps and the rest of the paraphernalia, in time for our 21st vintage! And when that’s over, we’ll be having a party, and you’ll be invited!
In the mean time, its “business as usual” and in this case, that means lending our shed to our mates from “Music at Gooloogong Log Cabin Hall” for one of their indie folk blues soirees, with Lucie Thorne (who has already gigged here a couple of times) and others, this time in the smaller, intimate atmosphere of our shed! Give them a call on 63448166 to book a dinner and show for just $50, and we’ll see you at the bar! There’s a bit of a frenchy theme going on, being the 14th of July, and why not take the chance to celebrate our hard won freedom from despotism. There’s an event page up on a website called Facebook.
In the same spirit, we’re also looking forward to Baroquefest 2018 – the fourth year of Canowindra’s uniquely baroque music festival, Friday 19th – Sunday 21st October 2018, which will finish with an intimate dinner concert in the Rosnay shed. Check out the website for some great ticket packages that would be a great weekend escape for any classical music lover.
While talking dates, don’t forget a few other good reasons for visiting Canowindra, including the Twilight Market on 29 September 2018. Held in Memorial Park in the main street by Canowindra’s own little foodie group, “Canowindra @ Home“, the market showcases the best of food, beer and wine, combined with chilled jazz melodies from local musos, all from within 100 Miles of Canowindra. There’s no need to book for that event.
And if you want get a bit more hands on, come out to Rosnay for a Biodynamic Farming field day on October 8. Organised by Biodynamic Agriculture Australia, the field day is primarily a way for people who are both involved and interested in biodynamics to have a practical, on-the- ground learning and networking experience. The real benefit is being able to see this farming and gardening system in action, and addressing local issues such as rainfall, climate, soil quality, weeds etc. It is an opportunity for practitioners to share their experiences, knowledge and ideas. Email us if you’re interested – we still don’t have the full event details from BAA but will keep you posted.
If you cant physically get to these events, we can send the main event to you: in a wine bottle! Perhaps give the 2012 Semillon a go – it won a Gold Medal at the Organic Wine Tasting held by Winestate in Adelaide. It, along with the 2013 Blanc, 2017 Freedom Red, 2017 Rose, and 2016 Semillon are in the Winestate Magazine’s Best Value Buys issue next month! It was especially reassuring to know that our own preference for medium bodied aged whites is not just our own winemakers bias – they really are nicer wines to drink than some watery new-age whites with high acid, savvy tang and nothing in between! We dare you to give the 2013 Blanc a shot, either here or at some place like Finns Old Store Cafe in Canowindra or Fish and Co restaurant in Harold Park Tramsheds.
Meanwhile we’ve been quietly working away on the Garage wines… If you’ve been following this project, the 2014 Garage Number 1 won Organic Wine of the Year in 2015, and is sold out, the Garage Number 2 also sold out quickly, the 2016 vintage Garage Number 3 was all exported to Japan and the Garage Number 4 Late Harvest Shiraz has been all bought by the Park Hyatt hotel in The Rocks, Sydney. The 2017 Garage wines included a trial of Vermentino which was quickly quaffed up and hardly even left the farm (also sold out), and two wild yeast fermented natural style light bodied reds which are still young and wild, needing some time in the bottle: the No.7 (straight shiraz aged in ancient barrels) has a pinot-like style with light body, rustic tannins and sour cherry on the palate, and the No.8 (Shiraz-Mourvedre blend matured in the “egg”) has bright fruit and smoothness which is drinking well already. Still in tank are the 2018 vintage Garage wines – more Vementino (slight skin contact) as well as Mourvedre and a Grenache-Carignan blend – another first.
As a subscriber, we’d like to invite you to order some of our wines (and olives and fig products) using this 20% discount coupon, valid for the next week only: ROSNAY21 (this will give you a discount on products that are already On Sale as well, such as the Blanc and the Shiraz!)
For some more down-to-earth news, overall the 2018 vintage was down in yield, in some blocks quite considerably. Our use of sheep as a summer weed control tool, combined with a very dry winter and summer season, may have been part of it – and so we are looking at more of a mix of heavy mulch, mechanical weeding and good old muscle power next season, and not just grazing over the summer. Its amazing how weeds adapt to whatever controls you try to use – in this case, years of mainly grazing for control led to the spread of weeds that love mowing and watering – think couch, kikuyu, johnsons grass, as well as the usual paspalum and phalaris. Next season we’re also looking forward to trialing a few other techniques with the department of agriculture researchers.
The fig harvest was dry and bountiful, with lots dried and in bulk containers for the coop and catering market. The olive harvest was probably the highlight, as we picked a record 60 tonnes of olives in May and early June, with the oil now settling and to be released in August.
The broader farm – Rivers Road Organic farms – is looking better than ever, with blocks cleaned up and under crop after fallow or pasturing, and there’s even a block for sale, though we think it will be sold very soon to someone who is not afraid of hard work and loaded with passion for organics.
Thats it for now – thanks for subscribing and we hope to see you soon out here!