With vintage 2018 over and some of the wine already in bottles (and lots of it already shared with chums!), we thought it would be good to give you an update of what’s been happening this year at C2G HQ. Having moved from our small apartment in Port Melbourne in 2017, we gained a house with a decent sized garage/winery in Essendon! This has meant that we have the space to process a lot more fruit. For starters, we invested in some new equipment including a crusher/destemmer. Last year it took us 3 hours to remove the berries from the stalks of 60Kg of Shiraz grapes. Now we can process 120kg in about 3 minutes, though cleaning the machine still takes an hour!
This year we have made around 200L of wine and the quality is significantly better than last year. We’re really chuffed with the bottled batches so far, and have had some really good feedback from a variety of wine professionals around Victoria. In 2018 we branched out into a few different grape varieties.
We have learned so much this year, though mostly about how much we still have to learn!Phil
It takes a lot of courage to demonstrate your wine to the ‘big boys’ – but we have met with honesty, kindness and support.Andi
Grapes were sourced from a variety of places, aided by the new friends that we have made throughout the year. Pinot Noir grapes and Chardonnay juice from Sunbury, came via our friends at Noisy Ritual and Alex Byrne wines. Shiraz grapes from Heathcote via Shiraz Republic once more, and some biodynamically grown Semillon grapes from Restdown Wines and Beef near Echuca Moama.
Phil also made a Cabernet Sauvignon rosé wine for his uni project which turned out beautifully! We’ve tasted some similar wines on a recent trip to Provence in France (more about that soon).
Phil’s homemade fermentation chamber performed even better than expected. It allowed us to finely control the temperature of the wines during fermentation, reducing the ferment speed, resulting in more complex and interesting wines. Cold-stabiliseation is also a possibility with smaller batches of wine. Maintaining a temperature of around 0-1 degree C for a few weeks causes tartrate crystals to drop out of solution in the demijohn. Nobody wants uglies in the bottle when you chill it at home to drink.
Small enough, our garage winery still relies on good old gravity for transferring wine and bottling. This means that the finished product is higher quality as the wine is handled very gently.
We made two batches of Chardonnay. Chardonnay 1 has oak staves in the ferment and a secondary (Malolactic) fermentation. We also used LALVIN ICV D47 yeast which is selected to work well with malolactic fermentation and produce good quality Chardonnay. This resulted in a wine that was big, buttery and round in the mouth with a nice amount of oak and tropical fruit flavours on the pallet. This is not the style of wine we normally look for in a chardy and it was intended to be blended with Chardonnay 2 to make a finished wine.
Chardonnay 2 was made using no oak and without a secondary fermentation. We used LALVIN QA23 yeast which contributes to a clean flavour in the finished wine. This wine was designed to be crisp, sharp and citrusy and was meant to be blended with Chardonnay 1.
Made using biodynamically grown grapes from near Echuca/Moama,
our Semillon was intended to be as natural as possible for us. However, we didn’t want to rely on the natural yeast in our garage so we inoculated with the QA23 yeast for a crisp clean finish. Semillon is naturally high in acid and no additions were made to this wine. We also tried to keep sulphur additions to a minimum. The Sem on it’s own ended up being beautifully crisp and acidic but without being heartburn central which some can be. However, inspired by Yarra Yering’s dry white wine No.1, we wanted to try a Semillon / Chardonnay blend too.
Blending trials were set up for both wines, essentially a line up where we measure different quantities of each wine into a series of glasses. Tasting them side-by-side, we were able to pick out our favourites for the final blends.
We ended up with a Chardonnay blend which was 65% Chardonnay 1 and 35% Chardonnay 2. The Sem/Chardy came out at 70% Semillon and 30% Chardonnay.
We’re incredibly proud of both of these wines. Given that this is only the second time we have made wine and that it was done in the garage at home they’re tasting great!Phil
The Shiraz and the Pinot Noir are still sitting in demijohn at the moment. They both have a littly ‘funkyness’ that we’re trying to work out how to clean up (Could it be something to do with the feet?!). Many winemakers use all sorts of tricks and techniques to polish their wines and we’re looking into a couple of options that we can use at home.
Unfortunately due to the limited testing Phil was able to do on the wines at home, the Pinot noir ended up with a lot of sulphites in it. As a result its flavours are quite restrained and it has a bit of an aftertaste. This is settling down over time however and the fruit flavours are starting to emerge. Next year we plan to be much more sparing with the additions and attempt to make wines which are much more natural.
We have some very exiting news about next years’ vintage which we’ll share with you soon. We have also just bought a house (in the Yarra Valley of course!) and will be moving there right in the middle of vintage, just to keep things interesting!
Until next time
Thanks for reading this far, it means a lot to us that you’re along on this journey with us. Please feel free to share with anyone who may be interested. We wish you and your families a fabulous 2019, and hope that it brings you exciting adventures and lots to smile about.
Andi & Phil