Autumn has definitely arrived at Sainte Rose as we enter our fifth week of Vintage 2012. Night-time temperatures are dropping to 15 degrees Celsius and day-time highs are nearer to twenty-five than thirty. Leaves are beginning to change colour and a chilly north wind has been encouraging them to fall.

Harvesting continues apace however and as of today, we are celebrating the fact that all our whites are now picked and safely in the winery! Week 4 was a week of Rhone valley white grape varieties – Marsanne, final Viognier and Roussanne, all of which ripen later than the early Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat. This should be the last of the really early, middle-of-the-night picks – hurrah!

In addition to the final whites coming in, the early red varieties were ready to de-cuve (i.e. the juice/wine taken off the grape skins and the skins pressed). So the focus shifted back inside the winery where two tanks of Merlot and one enormous tank of Syrah have been dug out. Both these varieties have already completed primary and malolactic fermentation having been co-inoculated with yeast (for primary, alcoholic fermentation) and bacteria (for secondary, malolactic fermentation) at the same time. We trialled this ‘co-inoculant’ (NT202 – from our good friends at Oenobrands!) last year and were delighted with the results. It aims to complete both fermentations much earlier and keep levels of Volatile Acidity (VA) low – and we can vouch that it does!

More to come from the later red varieties in the coming week!