One From The Archives: Looking Back At Harvest 2018

Rockcliffe winery is anticipating good vintages after a harvest of its vineyards signalled the start of another year of wine creation.

Grapes were mechanically shaken off their vines in the dead of night on March 16 to begin the first phase of the process.

Afterwards, winery owner Dr Steve Hall relayed his optimism. “The harvest is good,” he said.

Rockcliffe is in Denmark, 420km south of Perth in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, and its vines receive good rains, ideal for producing wines suited to cool climates.

Wines made from these grapes, harvested earlier this year, are now available.

This year Rockcliffe is marketing three new varieties. The first, a sauvignon blanc fume´, comes about after a successful trial last year, and now two pallets will be made. Dr Hall says the wine is poured into old barrels lending it a subtle oaky flavour, and fermentation occurs only with natural yeast.

The second is an oak semillon which will be fermented in barrels. Just 50 cases will be produced.

Finally, there is an adjustment to Rockcliffe’s popular Third Reef Rose´ which will now incorporate the grenache red grape, a variety used in Provence for making rose´.

Rockcliffe winemaker Antony Paume is overseeing production of the rose´ and the sauvignon blanc fume´, and colleague Simon Keall is responsible for the oak semillon.

As well, Dr Hall reports 90 per cent success in an operation to graft chardonnay grapes on to less valuable sauvignon blanc stock.

Winemaker Antony Paume with a bin of sauvignon blanc grapes still with their skins, in readiness for making sauvingnon blanc fume´.