Who is Rob Moody…?

Rob Moody wine maker

…and how did he come to make such amazing wines?

For those of you who haven’t heard, this year marks Rob’s 50th vintage! But, he didn’t start life as a winemaker. Rob was originally a maths teacher at Norwood High School who had never made wine in his life!


How did this whole wine-making thing come about?

It wasn’t until Rob met Heather that his interest in wine developed and he began to imagine life as a winemaker… even though, back in 1968 making wine wasn’t the trending sensation it is now!

Max_Schubert_tasting_wineTo get a foot into the industry, Rob posted letters to the major producers – Orlando, Hardy’s, Penfolds and so on. Who was the only one to answer? Max Schubert, the Father of Grange, of course! He said sure, why don’t you come on in for a chat?

Apparently, the first 10 minutes were fairly awkward, but then they started chatting marvellously. Rob cheekily suggested that Penfolds put him through Roseworthy oenology course. Max said, in essence… “Yeah, why not?”

By 1969, Rob was Assistant Winemaker. And by 1971, he was in charge of the red ferments for the ’71 Grange – famous for being the best wine in the world for that decade.

Max then personally asked Rob to oversee the Grange winemaking when it all moved up to the Barossa in subsequent years. A natural fit for a quiet, masterful talent. No wonder The Advertiser says Rob’s wine is now ‘about as close to Grange as you’ll get’.

Can Rob explain what it is about Grange then, that gets people so excited (including him?)

It has its pick of some of the best vineyards in the country! That’s a great start. All those words Rob uses – dark and rich (due to the fruit), complex (due to time in barrel) and lovely integrated oak. He doesn’t always agree with the price tags, but he does agree it’s among the best wines he’s ever made!

But we think your Somerled wines are pretty good too Rob!

This week in the winery…

Rob has been working on the reds this week.

2016 Shiraz

All the barrels of the 2016 Shiraz were brought down out of the stacks so Rob could taste each of them to make sure there weren’t any with a problem (tough job!).  The barrels were then pumped out into a stainless steel tank.

A sample from the tank was brought into the tasting room and trials set up to test the effect of fining agents. It was decided that very little was required. A very small amount of gelatine and egg white helped to soften the wine slightly without stripping out flavour or deadening aromas.

So the fining has now been added and the wine will be racked (leaving the sediment behind in the tank) back to barrels.  The barrels will be topped, tightly sealed and then put back into the stack.

Rob is really happy with the way it is looking. It’s typical Somerled Shiraz! It will benefit from another 3-4 months in barrel though before it will be prepared for bottling.  Then it will have a couple of years to settle down in bottle before release (so don’t get too excited just yet!).

2017 Shiraz

He also tasted each of the 2017 Shiraz barrels this week.  It’s a long time before this wine goes to bottle, so it was racked into the tank and then pretty much straight away put it back to barrel and topped up.  The benefit of doing that is to get a bit of air into the wine and keep its development moving along in the right direction.

2018 Pinot Noir

He also did the same with the 2018 Pinot Noir which is very aromatic and has such a lingering flavour.  Rob says it’s going to be as good as the 2016 and 2017 and may have the potential to be even better! Even better than 2017??!! Those lucky Jockey Club members who received a bottle of this in their latest pack would agree that is a hard task!

Do you know what goes well with a Somerled red?


This Saturday is our inaugural Somerled Italian sausage making day…

Which is now officially SOLD OUT!

Please get in touch if you would like to join future events and we’ll add you to the waiting list!

What’s for dinner tonight?

Hands up if you have been asked by Lucy as she is pouring you a glass of something at the bar, “what’s for dinner tonight” (usually to decide if she should invite herself over or not!)?

If there is one thing the Moody family enjoys almost as much as good wine, it’s good food. So, you can understand how important it is for them to get the pairing of the two spot on.

From the fiercely debated recipe which Heather and Lucy match to our Jockey Club wines every two months to Heather’s favourite food/wine combination of Chicken, Chips and Chardonnay – it’s serious business.

(…between you and me though, I’m not entirely convinced by the family’s favourite MacDonald’s hamburger/Pinot combination!)

But other than the old red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat rule…

What are the basics of pairing food with wine?

Regional Pairing

Regional matches provide a template for us to understand more about what’s going on structurally with wine & food pairings. They’re not always perfect, but they’re often a great place to start.

Think Sangiovese (Italy’s most commonly planted grape) with a tomato-based pasta or (as per the picture above) Sauvignon Blanc and goat’s cheese.


As a rule, the wine should be more acidic than the food. Otherwise, it will taste flat. A good example to help visualise this is a glass of oaked chardonnay with a vinaigrette salad. Considering the acid balance is one of the most important considerations in choosing a wine.

High acid wine will also add a range of interesting flavours to a fat heavy dish. There is nothing like a glass of sparkling to cut the fat… like some delicious triple cream brie perhaps?


The wine should be sweeter than the food it is paired with. Sweet loves salty. Think salted caramel (yum!). And when I say sweet, I don’t necessarily just mean sweet dessert wines (although Tawny Port and pretzels are amazing!), just think about the fruit sweetness of the wine you are choosing with your savoury meal.


And by bitter, I mean tannins. Tannic wines (like a nice big red) should be balanced with fat. Here, you need to imagine a nice big juicy steak and a glass of Somerled Shiraz, or Tempranillo and anything cheesy (pizza is my personal favourite!).

Bitter, however, does not go well with more bitter. Now, prepare yourselves. I am about to say something somewhat controversial… this is the primary reason why red wine does not normally pair well with chocolate. I know! I’m probably going to get shot down for that statement, but you can’t argue with science (actually, feel free to in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that one).

Other important tips

  • The wines should have the same flavour intensity of the food – this is why red wine normally pairs well with red meat and white wines pairs well with light-flavoured meats like fish and chicken.
  • It’s always best to match your wine to the sauce, not the meat
  • More often than not, white, sparkling and rose wines will create contrasting pairings. That is flavours with few shared compounds like coconut and lime.
  • More often than not, red wines will create congruent pairings. These being pairings with many shared compounds like beef and mushroom.


Let’s look at a real-life example…

Sunday is our next Harvest Lunch at Somerled Cellar Bar. Back by popular demand is Francisco’s delicious Paella paired with a glass of Somerled Tempranillo

During my research for this post, I came across this amazing Food and Wine pairing method poster and decided to give it a try.

The idea is to find the “shared pairing” amongst all the flavours in your meal. I looked up cured meat (for the chorizo), smoked for the preparation, alliums for the vegetable (ie. onion), exotic aromatic spices and rice and came up with… medium red wine! Or a Tempranillo… perfect!

If you’d like to try it for yourself, join us on Sunday from 12.30pm. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.


This post comes to you with a lot of help from our friends at www.winefolly.com. If you’re enjoying this blog, you should definitely check them out too.

A complex task for a simple organism

… and no! I am NOT talking about Rob!

It’s time for the yeast to do some of the hard work. While we’re all busy satisfying our sweet tooth over this Easter long weekend, the yeast cells are doing the same!

The role of yeast in fermentation…

Primary fermentation is the conversion of the sugar in the grape juice to alcohol and carbon dioxide by specifically selected yeast. The strain of yeast selected by the winemaker based on both on its ability to conduct the fermentation efficiently and also on the sensory features they add to the wine. For example, some yeasts produce compounds which add to the fruity and estery characters of the wine, while others are more neutral, allowing greater expression of varietal characters.

At the peak of fermentation there will be around 100 million yeast cells in one ml of the fermenting liquid!

(Source: Australian Wine – from the vine to the glass, P. Iland & P. Gago)

Temperature is also an important aspect of the fermentation process. The optimum temperature depends on wine variety, style, speed of fermentation, type of yeast, etc. etc. Let’s look at this in more detail in a future blog post.

The strain Rob chooses is nice and clean, reliably ferments all the sugar and almost always creates those attractive estery aromas.

Sauvignon and Fumé Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc fermentOur Sauvignon Blanc is about 70% through fermentation and is fabulously aromatic.

The Fumé Blanc portion has been split off with some nice “fluffy” (a technical term!)  lees and put to barrel. The lees addition will set it apart from the other Sauvignon Blanc by giving it extra weight and body.

How does Rob know that a fermentation is “70% of the way through”?

You may remember when we talked about Baumé in this post, I mentioned there were two applications for this measurement. Given that Baumé is the measure of the amount of sugar in the juice, then we can use it here to determine how much of that sugar still remains. The idea is that when fermentation in “complete” then there is 0 sugar (or close to) left in the resulting liquid (or wine).


Chardonnay fermentIt is still very early days for the Chardonnay. You may remember that the Chardonnay started out cloudy like this – and yet last week if appeared crystal clear and golden! The grape solids had settled to the bottom, rendering it lovely and bright. Now it’s cloudy again – not because of grape solids this time, but because it is now chock full of yeast cells.

Fermentation has been progressing slowly, but it has lovely clean full aromas.

Rob is very happy with it so far (as is Heather!).

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir Rosé is about halfway through fermentation and is ticking along nicely. The colour is lovely and pale (just the way Rob likes it). Although at this early stage, the aromas are quite subdued, they will start to lift closer to the end of fermentation.

Pinot Noir fermentPinot Noir fermentPinot Noir for our dry red was “pressed” on Monday and the free-run wine and pressings have been blended together. It was then transferred into barrel where the last bit of sugar is now fermenting away quietly. Rob thinks it looks terrific!

Free-run is the liquid part of the ferment. The remaining skins and berries are then pressed to release any additional juice. Sometimes these two components are kept separate (depending on the type of wine you’re aiming to produce) as the pressing liquid has more tannin and astringency.

Rob always puts the pressings back with the free run, as he likes the weight and “mouthfeel” it provides and the tannins help protect the wine’s colour. Sometimes winemakers keep the free run and the pressings separate, especially if they’re trying to make a simple wine that’s going to be released for early consumption.

Want to see it in real life?

Purchase tickets now to our April event: 

Meet Somerled’s Newest Wines: Rob Moody and the entertaining Hugh Armstrong pair up again, bringing you so much knowledge and behind the scenes secrets when it comes to winemaking. They’ll pour these in-process Somerled wines to hold up against our current vintages and – as always – will pour a special wine for you at the end with commentary from Rob! All presented with a sumptuous platter luncheon including Manchego, terrine, pate, crusty French loaves, locally churned butter and all manner of sides. $65pp includes luncheon, book here.

April 8, 11:30-1pm, seated event.

It’s All So Quiet …

Everybody’s been holding onto the edge of their seats all vintage.

Everybody that is, besides Rob! It’s his 50th vintage – nothing to see here!

2am starts, 2am finishes, midnight call-outs, checking Baumes around the clock, no sparkling, extra-stunning rose, sauvignon blanc in, chardonnay in, pinot noir in, destemming, crushing, pressing and now …

Shh ..!  A week of quiet.

What have our ‘wines’ (juices) been up to in their tanks?

Well, you may remember that this was what our sauvignon blanc looked like one week ago:

And this is what it looks like now!

Whoah how did that happen?

Why, it did it all by itself!

We chilled the sauvignon blanc juice right down (you can see how cold it is in the photograph) to ensure that it doesn’t start fermenting on its own and mess up the balance of flavours. Since then, gravity has allowed the solid material to sink to the bottom of the tank which is fantastic.

Solids in the juice give to the wine a coarseness and bitterness that needless to say Rob does not want, so for delicate wines like the sauvignon blanc, it’s critical to get them out of the way as soon as possible. We can then easily rack the wine (carefully pump it off the solids and into the fermenter). Next we warm up the clear juice ready to add the yeast for primary fermentation.

Indeed we’re adding the yeast to this clean, clear juice right now! In 10-12 days it will be our new, fresh, Somerled 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, complete with the beautiful aromas and green tints that Rob saw the very minute the fruit was pressed!

Want to see it in real life?

Purchase tickets now to our April event: 

Meet Somerled’s Newest Wines: Rob Moody and the entertaining Hugh Armstrong pair up again, bringing you so much knowledge and behind the scenes secrets when it comes to winemaking. They’ll pour these in-process Somerled wines to hold up against our current vintages and – as always – will pour a special wine for you at the end with commentary from Rob! All presented with a sumptuous platter luncheon including Manchego, terrine, pate, crusty French loaves, locally churned butter and all manner of sides. $65pp includes luncheon, book here.

April 8, 11:30-1pm, seated event.

What are our other newbies up to?

Chardonnay 2018 is on its way! Our chardonnays always differ so much in colour from the sauvignon blancs. Take a look! This shot was taken by Rob (holding the glass) a matter of hours ago. Instead of bright green tints, we have mellow golden hues. You can also see how the solids have sunk to the bottom in the chardonnay as well – great work, chardonnay juice!

As soon as Rob started describing its “lovely rich, buttery juice” he had everyone ready to pour a glass then and there! Why wait for it to become wine? (In related news, Heather has reported that she is thus far satisfied with Rob’s work on her favourite variety).

If you were to taste this juice right now, it’d be quite a bit sweeter than the sauvignon blanc because the chardonnay is picked at a higher sugar level (Baume) to create a slightly richer wine. Yeast is being added to this clean juice as we speak and it should come in around 12.7% alc/vol – as opposed to around 11.5% for the sauvignon blanc.

Pinot Heaven

And how about this pinot noir – do you recognise it? And the masterful hand that’s filling the glass? This is Rob just last night, after lifting the cap on the pinot noir 2018 fermenter. Here is what a 3-day old pinot noir looks like:

It’s not exactly comparable in texture to our fermenting white wines is it? A tad ‘chunkier’ perhaps?

We start fermenting the reds on their skins so that the juice can extract the required colour, flavour and tannin from them. The carbon dioxide produced by the fermentation has lifted the skins to the surface – it’s maybe 150mm thick. The juice underneath will probably be removed Monday, as we’ll have extracted all the colour and flavour we want, and it will have had its fill of nice tannin by then. It is at this stage that many may keep the juice with the skins longer, but we prefer to keep our pinot noir distinctly delicate.

We’re all pretty smug about the wines this vintage (what is it about pride coming before a fall? Should we settle down?).

But we always get excited about creating a whole new family of wines each year for you to eventually place on your dinner table, share with those closest to you (only those who deserve Somerled) and to warm your soul.

Thanks for being nice to me while Maree’s away … cheers for now! Lucy

The vintage 2018 story continues…

So, last week I suggested that Rob’s most hectic day of vintage was behind him. I’m not going to say that I jinxed him, but perhaps that prediction was a little premature!

Sauvignon Blanc in the vineyard at Summertown in the Adelaide Hills
A beautiful Adelaide Hills morning in the Sauvignon Blanc just before picking

Another big day for Rob…

Our sauvignon blanc grapes were hand-picked last Friday and Rob was very happy with the fruit. Although it was a very warm day, after a few hours in the cold room, they had cooled down and were loaded into the press at about 5.45am Saturday morning – of course, Rob was at the winery to oversee this. Who needs sleep?!

Why do the grapes need to be cool before they go into the press? The fermentation needs to be slow. So, if the grapes start out warm then the ferment goes too quickly, and it won’t develop the flavours Rob is looking for.

Sauvignon Blanc juice from the press The press


Freshly pressed sauvignon blanc juiceThe Baumé was lowish (11.2) and that is exactly how Rob wants it. The juice is perfect with lovely aromas and flavours, and such an attractive green tint. All up 3000 litres of juice came out of the grapes. This will be used for both the 2018 Somerled Sauvignon Blanc and the Fumé Blanc (in quantities yet to be determined by the winemaker!).

Since then the juice has been chilling while all of the solids from the grapes are settling to the bottom. This leaves 90% of the juice nice and clear. It will then be “racked” off the lees, yeast will be added, and it will be wine in a couple of weeks. Easy right??!!

The last of the Adelaide Hills fruit makes it to the winery…

Chardonnay grapes

This week sees the last of our fruit from the Adelaide Hills being harvested.  This is happening as I type at Kim Anderson’s vineyard in Charleston. It started this morning (Friday) at around 2:00am.  Chardonnay is first (see picture), followed by Pinot Noir for dry red.

The chardonnay was at 12.2 Baumé a couple of days ago. It should be ideal by the time it gets to the winery (Rob likes it to be around 12.5). The pinot was tested at 13.8 Baumé. This is as high as Rob would like to see it go… the colour and flavour look terrific.

Both these varieties are machine harvested. While machines are definitely faster, they aren’t as gentle as human hands, so some of the berries may be inadvertently crushed during the picking process. This is something you want to avoid with sparkling and sauvignon blanc. However, with Rob’s chardonnay and pinot, a bit of skin contact with the juice is no disadvantage. It was a nice chilly night here in the Hills last night, so perfect conditions for picking.

Also, because it has been machine harvested, the Chardonnay will need to be destemmed and pumped straight into the press.

The Pinot Noir will be put through the crusher/destemmer and pumped to a little open fermenter, where yeast will be added. It will ferment away in contact with the skins for around a week. Don’t forget that all the colour is in the skins, so this gives maximum opportunity to extract all the colour and also tannins into the fermenting juice.

Pressing versus crushing – what’s the difference? When making white wine, the fruit is usually pressed before primary fermentation. This is a gentle process which minimises the amount of skin contact with the juice. For red wines though, the grapes are first crushed to maximise the amount of skin contact (for colour and flavour) and pressed after fermentation to squeeze out the remainder of the juice and remove the skins and seeds, etc. Of course, there are many ways to make red and white wines, so you will see variations on these processes depending on the style.

All of Rob’s hard work has, quite frankly, worn me out… so, I’m off for a week of R&R with the family. But never fear! Your guest blogger, Lucy will be taking the reigns next week. Go easy on her!

Gelati Party!

In the meantime, if you’re looking for something to do on Sunday 25th March you should plan a trip to Hahndorf and our Gelati Party! It’s “Crush Take 2” (with, fingers crossed, much cooler weather this time) where Somerled, Scott & La Prova Wines and Hersey Vineyard will be joining forces on the lawn (behind the Scott cellar door at 102 Main Street, Hahndorf) for a celebration of cool jazz music, delicious dude food, amazing wine and, of course, Gelati!

I mean, why wouldn’t you be there?


What a week!

Rob has been a VERY busy boy this week with Vintage 2018 AND bottling of a number of our wines starting all at the same time. Let’s just say, he has definitely earned a glass (or two) or something this week!

Let’s start with what has been happening on the bottling line…

Last week we transferred 2015 Shiraz, 2017 Pinot Noir (dry red), 2017 Fume Blanc and 2017 Chardonnay to Boutique Bottlers in Stockwell in the Barossa.  Boutique Bottlers is a great, small (as the name suggests) bottling operation run by Kym Burgemeister and his family.  We use them because they do everything really well and given that bottling is about the last point at which something can go dreadfully wrong with a wine, it’s reassuring to know that Kym and the team are looking after it all.

However, that doesn’t mean that Rob puts his feet up and lets them take care of the bottling process. Nothing could be further from the truth! His day started at 8am yesterday when he went to check that the wine arrived safely and to ensure that there hasn’t been a mix up with any of the wines. He also checks that the carbon dioxide and dissolved oxygen levels are within specification. Despite all the care and attention, it’s a rather nerve-wracking time for Rob… it’s for this reason that he always leaves the wine for a week or two before tasting it after bottling.  And there’s no doubt that the wine does change due to all the handling prior to and during bottling… but then it settles down and usually looks better after a while than it did before it was bottled.

Have a look at this little video of our Fume Blanc on the bottling line…

Fume Blanc Bottling Line Video

Oxygen can have a significant impact on wine style. Low oxygen levels typically lead to wines displaying elevated fresh fruit attributes, an absence of developed characters, and a tendency to form undesirable reduced characters. On the other hand, too much oxygen can lead to subdued fresh fruit characters, the development of stewed and cooked fruit along with other developed attributes, the absence of reduced characters and the early onset of undesirable oxidised attributes.

Oxygen’s impact is so dramatic that the same wine exposed to slightly different oxygen levels at and after bottling can result in completely distinct wines.

Controlling oxygen levels at bottling is also important because oxygen can cause the onset of wine faults and also determines wine shelf life.

(Australian Wine Research Institute, AWRI)

So, all of the wines were bottled yesterday except for the Shiraz. Why? Because we were sent the wrong bottles! See why it’s important for Rob to triple check everything? The correct bottles should be arriving tomorrow, so the Shiraz will go “down the line” (a bit of technical talk for you there, you may borrow it if you wish!) then.  But, there is a silver lining to every cloud…  as Rob didn’t need to stay on to oversee the bottling of the Shiraz, this gave him just enough time to zip home to Hahndorf to get ready to join his lovely wife, Heather at the one and only Adelaide Festival show they had booked for this year (of course it HAD to coincide with the busiest week in the winery!). Phew!

“Awwww”… I hear you all say, “what a lovely end to a hectic day”. Well, as it turns out, it wasn’t the end of the day for Rob. After the show, he got a call from the winery to let him know that the pinot noir for Sparkling had been pressed. So, off to the winery, he goes…

The beginning of vintage 2018…

If you’ve tried Rob’s wines, then you don’t need me to tell you that he’s pretty picky about the styles of wine he makes. This means that he needs to be very picky about the fruit he uses. While Rob has great relationships with growers of all the fruits which goes into the productions of Somerled wines, he has never locked himself into any contracts with these growers. And our first story of vintage 2018 is a perfect example of why he doesn’t.

By the time the pinot was picked and pressed, the Baumé (take a look at last week’s post for a review of what this is and why it’s important) was slightly higher than Rob would like it to be. These things happen. So, instead of compromising and producing a style of Sparkling wine that just isn’t Somerled, Rob has agreed to take only half of the 4 tonnes of fruit that was picked and to use this instead, for our Rosé. And what a beautiful Rosé it’s going to be!

Disappointingly, we’re going to miss out on a 2018 vintage of the sparkling, BUT, never fear… we have healthy stocks of other vintages which will see us through.

It’s now 2am and Rob can finally put, what we hope will be the busiest day of vintage 2018, behind him. But, in this unpredictable business, who knows? You’ll just have to keep reading to find out…!

From the winery: barrel update

This week we head into the winery to Robin Moody, Somerled wine maker in the barrel hallhave a look at what’s happening behind the scenes with some of Rob’s creations which he is lovingly nurturing…

  • 2017 Fumé and Chardonnay:  These wines are both looking sensational and will be heading to the bottling line very soon. And a point of interest for the Chardy die-hards among us… a couple of the barrels are already particularly caramelly… yum!
  • 2017 Pinot Noir: Still in barrel and is elegant, with a beautiful structure. It looks light, but the flavours are delicious! It is due for a rack & return and will also be bottled before vintage begins.

Rack and Return is a term which describes the process of pumping the wine out of barrel and then returning it once the barrels have been cleaned and any remaining yeast lees (dead or residual yeast cells) have been removed. This helps to get some air into the wine, keeping it nice and fresh. It also helps to soften the tannins and allows blending of the different barrels for consistency in the bottle.

  • 2015 Shiraz: This particular vintage has now been in barrel for well over two and a half years. It was recently transferred to tank and is now ready for bottling. It looks lovely – beautiful typically Somerled chocolately flavours! It will then spend between one and two years in bottle where it should develop those estery Penfolds-esque characters. Rob likes to move away from his Shiraz being a simple fruit & oak wine to it having much more complexity and interest, which include these interesting aromas. This is also one of the reasons he leaves it barrel for so long, so it has developed some of these already.

So what does “estery” mean exactly? It’s a difficult term to describe and even Rob struggles to define it. Basically it is a compound called ethyl acetate which is produced from a reaction between ethanol and acetic acid. Wines with too much acetic acid are described as having Volatile Acidity (or VA) which, at high levels, is a fault in the wine. However, Penfolds are known for having a small amount of VA in their reds and for Rob this characteristic is very desirable AT LOW LEVELS… just enough so it combines with the other characters of the wine to sort of lift it and add complexity.

So, I guess you could liken it to walking a tight rope… Rob has the skill and finesse to tread this fine line, to ensure the delicate balance is maintained.

  • 2016 Shiraz: Was recently racked and returned but kept in two separate batches due to some slight differences in flavours. If they remain significantly different, and one stands out from the other, this will inform Rob’s decision to blend further down the track. Or not!
  • 2017 Shiraz: Even at this very early stage, the 2017 vintage is looking great with nice intense fruit flavours. This one looks to be yet another fantastic vintage out of McLaren Vale. Watch this space!

Is your favourite Somerled wine Rob’s deliciously rich and smooth Shiraz? Which is your favourite vintage? Let us know in the comments below.


And don’t forget to tune in next week, when we’ll have a chat about our “Trophy-winning” Sparkling Pinot Noir!

Missed last week’s post? Catch up here.

Where to start…?

On a day like today, what better place than with Rob’s go to thirst-quencher… Sauvignon Blanc.

We source the grapes for this classic Adelaide Hills variety from a vineyard in Charleston where the season is shaping up to be a good one. Some early hail damaged the vines a little, which warranted a strict disease management program. Unfortunately, the wet and very warm weather resulted in some downy mildew, but the damage was insignificant.

Downy mildew loves wet and warm conditions… for those of you interested, the rule of thumb for optimal disease conditions is a minimum of 10 mL rain with the temperature not falling below 10 degrees over a 24 hour period.

The grapes are currently at early veraison (see picture) and still have a lot of growing up to do in fact each berry will double in size between now and vintage.Sauvignon Blanc graoes

Veraison is defined as the stage at which three simultaneous but separate processes begin.

1. Each berry soften as the cells within the grapes begin to produce more juice and the skin becomes thinner.

2. Sugar starts to accumulate and acidity of the grape starts dropping away.

3. Colour starts to change – in Sauvignon Blanc this is a change from emerald green towards being translucent.

But, what about this week’s hideous heat, I hear you ask?

Our growers are well prepared for short burst of hot weather and have been carefully metering out irrigation to counteract the stress and high water use of the vibes at this time.

Also, the relatively “cool” nights of the Adelaide Hills allow the vines to recover without losing their precious leaves.

In other words… don’t panic, they’ll be fine!


Want to know more? Ask us a question in the comments below.

Welcome to the Somerled Wine Education Blog…

… a place for you to come to gain insight into the work involved in bringing you Somerled Wines. We want to share with you some of the reasons why the Somerled wine in your glass tastes as good as it does.

We will take you through the season and update you weekly on what is happening in the vineyard, the winery and our gorgeous Cellar Bar in Hahndorf.

My name is Maree and I will be your tour guide through this process. This is my 5th year behind the bar at Somerled… I have listened to (and tried to answer) your questions about our wines while you enjoy a glass of something. But now it’s time to get the full story straight from the horse’s mouth.

Join me as I learn from Rob and other industry experts and take you on a journey of passion, precision, experience and good old hard work.