Welcome to our 2021 Vintage Diaries. My name is Andrew Santarossa, Chief Winemaker at Mitchelton. I look forward to sharing a personal insight into our vintage journey – the highs, the lows and stories behind our pursuit of excellence.
Our 4 vintage cellar hands have joined the winery and vineyard team with lots of training, cleaning and general vintage preparation. There is a great mix of youth, experience and above all, a common goal of wine excellence.
The 2021 vintage officially commenced for Mitchelton on Thursday 18th February in the early morning. It started with picking our Estate Chardonnay blocks for our Mitchelton Blanc de Blancs Cuvee Sparkling as well as a new sparkling project codenamed: Anassa (stay tuned).
Taking three consecutive days of picking, we are starting with our Triangle and Channel South Blocks, followed by the Watson’s Block before finishing with our Airstrip and Channel North Blocks. Picking in this order ensures we have picked at the precise time for fresh and pristine sparkling Chardonnay flavours and the fine natural acid balance which is essential for beautiful sparkling base.
The growing season of 2021 has been one of consistent mild weather, consistent rainfall and balanced canopies ensuring even ripening and allowing the vine’s full potential to shine through.
“Be careful to trust a person who does not like wine.” – Karl Marx
Glorious picking conditions for the team at the Estate with fruit travelling down the driveway to the winery for crushing. Enjoy the ride precious ones! The Mitchelton winery will crush approximately 2100 tonnes of fruit during vintage.
It’s looking like 2021 will see a return to good yields after a small harvest last year. Most importantly, quality is looking excellent. Consistent mild weather and a balanced canopy will ensure even ripening and allow the vine’s full potential to shine through. 2021 vintage is shaping up to be a classic one for Mitchelton.
I look forward to sharing these wines with you.
VINTAGE IS HERE! WHAT’S ALL THE EXCITEMENT ABOUT?
Winery and Vintage Facts:
• Our Nagambie Estate vineyard has 108 hectares of vines.
• The Nagambie Lakes wine region lies at the cooler southern edge of Goulburn Valley amongst the river and ranges.
• Our Heathcote Estate vineyard has 20 hectares of vines.
• Our Heathcote, Toolleen vineyard lies on the western slopes of the Mt Camel ranges with it’s unique, ancient soils.
• Our Yarra Valley Estate vineyard has 15 hectares of vines.
• The Yarra Valley was the first wine region in Victoria.
• We have 13 different varietals planted on the Nagambie Estate property.
• The main varietals are Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling.
• We have 150 tanks in the winery. Each 9kL tank holds 12,000 bottles of wine and a 90kL tank holds 120,000 bottles.
• We have close to 1000 barrels on site varying in sizes from large vats, foudrier, demi-muid, puncheon, hogsheads and barriques.
• We use 1 megalitre of water per hectare of vines during the growing season.
• We minimise the use of chemical sprays where possible in the vineyard and are currently trialling a natural spray to combat botrytis cinerea.
• We have 10 winery staff and 5 vineyard staff working around the clock for the 2021 vintage with some as young as 18 years old with the more experienced and mature aged at 66 years old.
• Given COVID-19 and travel restrictions, we have been unable to extend the invitation to our international friends to work at Mitchelton for the 2021 vintage.
• During vintage, our winery operations are in full swing 24/7. There is a real buzz in the air and excitement through the winery.
• This is our Chief Winemaker, Andrew Santarossa’s 23rd Australian vintage. His first vintage with Mitchelton was in 2018.
• During vintage, Andrew will travel approximately 40,000 kilometres from vineyard to vineyard.
• We kick off vintage at Mitchelton by picking fruit from our Nagambie Estate Chardonnay blocks for our Blanc de Blancs Cuvee Sparkling.
• Picking fruit at the precise time is critical for freshness and pristine sparkling Chardonnay flavours and the fine natural acid balance which is essential for beautiful sparkling base.
• Although we pick our own Estate fruit, we also receive, crush and process fruit from our partner growers across certain varietals.
• The last fruit we pick is the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon for optimum flavour and tannin ripeness on the vines.
• Expect harvest to start around the 3rd week in February and continue to approximately the last week in April or early May.
Meet The Team
Back – Left to Right (standing): Tony Fahey, Rick Bradbury, Nicholas Smidt, Andrew Santarossa, Aimee Cahill, Jonny Mackeson, Peter Harcourt, Mark Clydesdale, Kevin Piper, Justin Anderson
Front – Left to Right (knelt down): Geoff Page, John Armstrong, Ty Ellis, Lachlan McFarlane, Greg McGowan, Georgina Hannah.
Absent: Tony Hanley