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Join us at The 2012 Heathcote Wine & Food Festival

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Events

We look forward to meeting up with you at this very popular annual event.  A great opportunity to try  & buy wine from over 40 Heathcote wineries, have lunch in the picnic setting, entertain the kids and be entertained yourself with live music and wine seminars. Book on line for early bird discounts through the Heathcote Winegrowers website. Make sure you come and say ‘Hello’ to us at the She-Oak Hill marquee and taste our newly released, highly acclaimed 2010 Estate Shiraz.

 

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Support our local growers & the Heathcote community

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Community, Events

 


On the third Saturday of each month join us at the Heathcote Farmers Market to purchase fresh produce and small batch condiments, talk to the passionate producers, enjoy the rural environment  and catch up with friends. It’s a beautiful way to spend the morning and an excellent way to stock your fridge or get organised  for a picnic.

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Vines with character

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Vineyard

If  you are used to driving through wine regions where the vines are manicured and neatly trellised in uniform rows the 37 year old vines at She-Oak Hill may appear somewhat chaotic.

The trellising is lower than that found in recent vineyard plantings, the vines are gnarled and bent and during the growing season the unruly canes tend to sprawl across the mid rows.

All these features make it more of a challenge to work among the vines either manually or with  equipment . But I wouldn’t change it for the world. Our old vines have such personality, each knot and twist tells a story. Stories driven by passion rather than expertise, tales of the growth of a wine region, sagas of great seasons or droughts and bush fires. These vines have shared the yarns of pickers and the gossip of pruners across several generations.

I often refer to this part of the vineyard as the ‘nursing home’ block as the vines require a great deal of individual attention to keep them producing viably. Of course this means that each vine is as familiar to me as an old friend and I regard them with the affection I would feel towards my mates. And like good friends these vines reward us generously for our efforts. The fruit is rich and intense when it reaches maturity. It offers special older vine flavor of leather, cassis and spice and great depth of color to the wine we produce making the challenge they present over the season always worthwhile.

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What do mandarins have to do with it?

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Community, Vineyard

When the mandarins on my tree in Melbourne turn sweet and golden  I know it is time to start pruning.

What  relevance does this have to grape vines?  Well, for all the years as I have worked alongside Laurie who has pruned our vines for 36 years I have brought him 5 perfectly  ripe mandarins which he has carefully rationed for each day of the working week and enjoyed after his ham and cheese sandwich on his favorite ‘Country Split’ bread accompanied by a Light Ice. Laurie is the best sort of worker to have at a vineyard – he does not drink wine!  This year Laurie’s health has, much to his frustration, prevented him  from doing the work at which  he is so skilled and that he has loved for such a long time.

In the past cold days and freezing winds have just been part of the vineyard year for Laurie as, with the eye of an artist,  he selects the canes to lay down for fruit in the season to come and those to ‘spur’ for next year’s canes. This year the cold weather is proving too much of a challenge for him. Recognized as an expert throughout the region our old friend has pruned at many vineyard including Jasper Hill and Mt Ida but has retained a special place in his heart for his vineyard, She-Oak Hill.
Each day in my garden as I walk past the golden fruit on the mandarin tree I think about the enduring impact Laurie has made on my life, the support he has generously offered to our vineyard, the pride he has taken in his work over the years and I share his sense of despair that, at the age of 84, he may need to start taking things a little more easily.

 

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