The anticipation for our 2020 vintage is high! This will be the first year that Marnong Estate Wines will produce wines made from 100% estate grown grapes. Our vineyard manager, Ray Guerin, foresees a very promising 2020 vintage.
“It’s my favourite time of year. You get to see the fruits of your labour from the past 12 months. There’s nothing better than seeing quality fruit coming in that meets or exceeds your expectations” says Ray.
Ray’s talent in viticulture is evident, having won Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine’s Viticulturist of the Year in 2013. He was later inducted into the Yarra Valley Hall of Fame in 2018.
Ray first began managing the vineyard at Marnong Estate in 2016, in its early days. He is now part of our milestone 2020 vintage.Ray explains the season to date, only one week from our expected harvest:
“The season began with us coming off a dry Winter. We experienced reasonable rain and warmth into November and early December. Then the season cooled right down. Early January was hot but cooler than average. From mid January to now it’s been quite cool with good rainfall resulting in good vine health” says Ray.
“With our young 3-4 year old vines we experienced vigorous growth and fantastic yield. In December we undertook trimming to reduce yield to 5.5 – 7 tonnes per hectare. This will ensure we produce the best quality fruit for our wine.”
The challenges of the season were strong northerly wind conditions. “They were hard on the canopy but we were fortunate that the temperatures cooled down and the vines performed well” says Ray.
Thankfully, we were far enough away from the fires and only had smoke in the area on 2-3 occasions, but it didn’t hang around. Ray believes there will be no issues with smoke taint here. Our thoughts go out to those producers affected by the fires.
With this season’s cooler conditions, vintage is set to start 7-10 days later than normal. This comes with the benefits of longer hang time meaning the grapes will continue to build flavour. They will also retain their natural acidity.
Hand harvesting should begin the first week of March. The first fruit to pick will be some Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for our Sparkling wine.The following week, more Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gris will be harvested. The last to come off will be Shiraz, and then it will be a wrap on the 2020 vintage by early April. Our hopes are high for all varietals and we can’t wait to see how the wines turn out.
Ray is most looking forward to trying our Italian varietals, the Fiano and Montepulciano. The release dates for all our ME Wines will be announced via social media and on our website.To keep up to date, follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
You can discover more about our first 100% estate grown wines in our blog post here.