Autumn is a beautiful time at She-Oak Hill. As the vines gently work to store carbohydrate reserves in their canes and trunks before losing their leaves and becoming dormant for 3 months, we can relax and enjoy the bright sunshine and mild conditions during the day. In the evenings the clear skies provide a wondrous display of planets and stars, never seen in the city where urban lights pollute the night sky. In fact the Astronomical Society of Victoria have a Dark Sky Site at Heathcote which members of the public can visit twice a year
So far this year we have barely needed to light the wood stove but as winter approaches the Nectre baker’s oven will provide comforting warmth and be the center of activity as I prepare slow cooked meals, ox tail and lamb shanks are favorites, and hearty soups.
Our olives are ripening and the vegetable patch is being prepared for winter planting. The nets have come down from the orchard of peach, nectarine and apricot trees and the fruit in the citrus grove is beginning to color.
We have time now to invite friends for picnics and meals, purchasing most of the ingredients from local farmers markets and enjoying the rewards of the labor of our market friends with a glass or two of our own wine.
How satisfying and emotionally nourishing this is. Should you be in the Heathcote wine region during the next few months give us a call, we would be happy for you to visit and share this delightful time with us.
There are many exciting innovations taking place in Heathcote at present and I would like to share some of them with you.
The monthly Farmer’s Market is held under the shade of beautiful trees in Barrack Reserve on the 3rd Saturday of each month. You can support local growers of fabulous produce, enjoy a leisurely shopping experience and meet with friends to spend time in this lovely setting. She-Oak Hill provides wine tastings and sales at the Farmer’s Market each even month this year.
On the same 3rd weekend of each month 12 of Heathcote’s excellent cellar doors will be open as part of the Heathcote Cellar Door Experience. You are guaranteed a warm welcome at each of these cellar doors by people with a passion for their vineyards and the fruit of their labors.
I am also recommending you visit the delightful Heathcote Wine Hub @ Cellar & Store for great coffee, light meals, sundowners on Friday evenings during summer and of course the opportunity to taste the best of Heathcote’s wines. In the winter months there is a welcoming and cosy open fire place. On the long weekend in June, Heathcote Wine Hub will be a central point of the annual Heathcote on Show Weekend
The recently refurbished Willow Room at Emeu Inn under its new management team – Jody at the front of house and her husband Brent by the stove – lifts the bar for dining in Heathcote. I can recommend the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus having tried them all and thoroughly enjoyed each experience. The zucchini flowers are exceptional, delicately battered and cooked to perfection. Willow Room prides itself on featuring largely regional wines paired with exceptional local produce.
If you are extending your stay over night, the recently completed Cranford Cottage offers unique and luxurious bed and breakfast accommodation for 2 couples in the heart of the Heathcote wine region. Contact Cally by email – firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0418 342 957 for enquiries
Growing fruit for premium wine is all about patience and anticipation. Over the growing season, from early September until late March, we must anticipate the risks to fruit from the weather, from disease and from pests in the vineyard. Frosts, strong winds and excessive rain have the potential to be just as damaging as long dry spells and excessive heat.
With predictions of a hot dry summer it was important to anticipate the crop load the vines would be able to bring to maturity without stress. During December many hours were spent going through each individual vine, counting the bunches per shoot, checking the length of the shoots and fastidiously reducing the crop to one bunch per shoot.
Now, a week out from harvest, we are patiently awaiting the excitement of picking. The vines are looking good and the fruit has amazing flavor. Six months of dedicated effort is looking like it will result in a special wine which we look forward to sharing with you.
Our 2010 Estate Shiraz has been awarded:
5 Stars in Winestate Magazines New Release tasting -August 2012.
Silver medal in the French Chamber of Commerce's Concours des Vins November 2012
Silver medal Daylesford Wine Show November 2012