The last week and a half have been pretty busy, not with processing new fruit but with pressing off Pinot and racking whites! All of our Pinot has finished fermenting, so after about a week or more of post maceration, it’s time to drain the tank, dig out, and go to press.
The first step is to drain the tank. Since the winery is gravity flow, we usually hook up one hose from the fermenting tank to an empty tank, and let the free run wine drain out overnight. In the morning, we disconnect the hose, hook up the shoot which goes into a bin below, and hop in the tank to shovel out the skins. Most of the tanks are open top, so CO2 poisoning is not a problem, but if it was closed top, you would have to allow that tank air circulation to make sure you could breathe in there!
Below is a picture of me shoveling out one of our open top tanks.
Once the tank is shoveled out, we take all of those skins and juice to the press and load it up. Obviously, after pressing, the wine goes into tank, followed by barrel for long term aging. Lubiana makes mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, so the barrel aging time frames are from 6 months to about 18 months.
One new addition to the winery this year has been legen…wait for it…dary. Steve purchased, and just got up and running, his own still to make grappa! It was originally used to teach at a university in Adelaide, but he came upon it, installed it at the winery, and just the other day we produced the first batch of Grappa from Pinot Noir grapes. It was so cool! For those of you who aren’t into Grappa, like my dad, not to worry, you probably haven’t had the good stuff. I am not saying we can make the best here, but what we tasted yesterday was pretty good, and it hasn’t been cut, matured, or aged with different flavors at all. Alessio’s girlfriend’s father makes his own Grappa in Italy produced from the Quince. I have to say, it is some of the best I have ever had. Steve also has a bottle of it made from the Moscato grape. It is much more floral and fruity than any I have ever had. Below are some pictures of the still, and different Grappas.
We have also been finishing up all of the white ferments. We have a room downstairs with casks (1000L wooden) and Fudras (3300L wooden). Those contain Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and a little Gruner Vetliner. Upstairs in the main cellar we have more Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Riesling. Below is a photo of the main winery floor, the large format barrel room, and the regular barrel room. Remember, the whole set up is gravity flow, so when we barrel down, no pumps are used. I have been getting quite a work out in each day. I don’t have a fit bit or anything, but my iPhone says I walk about 70 floors each day!
This week we also got in about 6 tons of Merlot, the last of the red fruit! Now, all that is left on the vine is some Pinot Gris that is drying in order to make Vin Santo, or an Italian sweet wine. Here is a picture of the Merlot we got in.
This past weekend was an absolute blast. We had such little work in the winery, so it was really the first weekend we got to take advantage of both days, with only a small amount of work in the morning and evening. On Saturday, we went into Hobart, had some seafood and beers, and went to the museum downtown. The museum has exhibits that come and go, but the Tassie history and its native species is always there. We saw history surrounding the aboriginal cultures and also a ton on the wildlife in Tasmania. One particularly interesting native beast (which is now extinct) is the Tasmanian Tiger. The last tiger was shot and killed in 1930, a sad history of a hunted and depleted species that Tassie is not proud of. Below is a picture of the beer we drank (Moo Brew Pale Ale which is a brand under the company Mona) and also some shots of Hobart as a bit of rain was coming in…
After the museum we went to the Lark Distillery Cellar Door in downtown Hobart. I had been waiting to go there as the Lark has now been recognized in the Whiskey Hall of Fame in Scotland!! The owner, Bill Lark is now a consultant for many distilleries in Scotland. A Tassie telling the godfathers of Single Malts what to do, go figure! Anyways, we tasted through a couple of the whiskeys they produce, and after I sipped on a Tassie Coffee, the Tasmanian version of an Irish Coffee. They had about 150 different brands of whisky in the house, so if you wanted single malts from Japan to Belvanie, they had you covered. Here is a picture of the Distillers Selection (my favorite of the Lark) and the wall of other whiskeys they had to offer. Didn’t see much American!!
This past Sunday was the best day I have had since I arrived here. We got up early, got some light work finished, and took off in the ute to Bruny Island. Bruny Island is a small piece of land off the coast of Hobart, an absolute must see if you are in the area. It costs $30 to ride the ferry with a vehicle over to the island, and then you can have as long as you want to explore. There is camping and overnight accommodations if you want to spend multiple days. We spent just the full day in total, but what a day it was! There is actually a North and South Island, and it takes around an hour to get from point to point. We went directly to the South Island, and stopped at some awesome places along the way. This spot in the picture is called “The Neck” which is a thin strip of land separating the two islands and Isthmus Bay and Adventure Bay.
We then drove to the Southern Point of the island to the lighthouse, which was erected in 1830…here’s a picture of that and the beautiful surrounding area! Bruny has some incredible beaches.
We headed back through Adventure Bay and ended up at Bruny Island cheese shop, another must stop on the island. We tried some cheese and purchased one that is rolled in whiskey from the Lark, and another that is aged and kept in Pinot Noir skins to give it an extra special taste. It was simply delicious! We then headed over to “Get Shucked” which is the Bruny Island Oyster company. They harvest and shuck oysters right out front of the shop, as natural and fresh as it gets!!
We bought some bread, ate our cheese, drank some beer, and Alessio, Irinna, and I ate oysters till our hearts were content. It cost $16 for a dozen! That was one of the best prices I have ever seen!! Here is a picture of the scene…right out front on the water is where they harvest the oysters!
Here is a picture of the sunset on a remote beach on Bruny…