The cooler weather is here, the vines are dormant and the leaves are turning a beautiful mix of yellows and reds and oranges. The first frost recently whitened the lawn out the front of the homestead.
Vale Bob Tyrrell – 1937-2013
Many of our readers will have heard that Bob passed away on April 3. He will be sorely missed by the family and his many friends.
Bob had just finished harvesting the last row of Cabernet vines when he had a massive heart attack. He was taken too early, but he went doing what he loved – tending the vineyard and bringing in the final crop for the year.
I have been overwhelmed by hundreds of condolence cards, gifts and letters. For a while the homestead was so well-stocked with beautiful floral tributes that it looked rather like a florist’s shop.
I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to all those who have been so thoughtful. The funeral service, held on April 11, was attended by hundreds of family, friends and former business colleagues.
We’re open for business
Despite the trials of the past few months, Dry Ridge is open for business and we invite everyone to come down and see us.
It took a few weeks to recover normal operations after we lost Bob but now we’re beginning to get back on track. The weather is beautiful in the Valley at this time of the year, cool, clear and sunny, and it’s nice to see families basking in the sun, enjoying a picnic and tasting the latest from the cellar.
The 2013 vintage
The 2013 vintage had its challenges due to the rains in the middle of the traditional picking season but we managed to pick both Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling this year - Bob’s last gift to the Estate and currently fermenting in large vats and we expect bottling to start in the next few months. This year we have made the Lady Barbara Riesling, the Blue Mountains Riesling, and the Nellie’s Cabernet Rosé.
The Cellar Door
The cellar door pavilion has been repaired after the massive lightning strike that took out the glass wall on the Eastern side. The pavilion is a nice warm place to be on a winter’s day, sitting in the sun and admiring the escarpment off to the East. In the afternoon, when the sun has dipped down, the heating comes on and it becomes a different type of cosy.
Geri Rigg will be at the cellar door highlighting her Megalong Gold olive oils. She has two varieties derived from Leccino and the other from Frantoio. These are beautiful full flavoured oils that will impress even the most discerning olive oil fans.
We’re planning to revive the Club Meg wine club as one of our first priorities. We‘re sure that our members will understand the short hiatus we’re having. More news will be sent to members when plans for the resumption are finalised.
This has truly been the most eventful summer we have experienced.
Our visitors to the vineyard have greatly enjoyed the facilities of our newly completed Cellar Door. Our new opening times of Saturday and Sunday from 11.00 are very popular as is our new offering of cheese platters which encourage visitors to take pause in the new Wine Pavilion and enjoy our environment and the view. The pavilion has also proven to be a most sociable setting and we notice many new acquaintances being made by people at adjacent tables.
A little drama though! Just before Christmas at tree 15 metres from the Cellar Door was struck by lightening and exploded like a bomb – hurling great 100 Kg splinters of timber over a 50 to 75 metre radius. The side of the Cellar Door was destroyed by four of these missiles just three months after it was completed. We were both were in there with three guests and it was a miracle no one was hurt
Everyone said we should buy a lottery ticket. We did – but didn’t win. We had already had our good luck!
After arguably the coldest and wettest growing season in 30 years last vintage, this year started of brilliantly. We had no early season frost which is always a worry for the Riesling – there was plenty of moisture in the soil so we did not mind missing out on spring rain and there was an abundance of a beautiful sunny spring days which meant much less spraying for fungal disease.
Then disaster struck.
In October a neighbor
spraying for blackberry or similar weeds with a hormonal herbicide seriously
The person(s) responsible was either not qualified to spray with these chemicals and/or was seriously irresponsible in their use. Unfortunately we have no redress without being able to identify the property from which the drift occurred.
The wonderful beginning to the growing season slowly became a nightmare. By mid January we had had only 25 mm of rain per month for the previous six months. The lawns were bare of any grass and some garden plants that had grown happily for 12 years began to die. Our tanks were empty and the bore had dried up. We used the last of our dam water to give the vines the best soaking we could.
Five days later it rained – over 100 mm of soft beautiful rain that literally saved the crop.
later on the weekend of 23/24 February just past over 150 mm of rain fell in
eight hours from the cyclone that came down the coast from
The Megalong Creek at the Old Ford Reserve just down the road rose to 2.2 metres above the causeway. Roads are washed out, the vineyard is sodden and we will have trouble getting machines on to the vineyard without getting bogged.
The late February rain could not have come at a worst time for the vines. Despite our vigilance in spraying for fungal disease an outbreak of bunch rot and botrytis is highly likely, but these are the challenges we vignerons have to deal with.
We expect harvest will be early this vintage - in the second week of March for the Riesling which we will be picking for new vintages of our Blue Mountains Riesling and Lady Barbara. Cabernet for our Nellie’s Cabernet Rose will be picked at the end of March.
Our target is to harvest 20 tons of grapes.
After the success of the last CLUB MEG lunch 1 December last year, we are planning the next lunch for April after vintage. Separate advice will be sent to our CLUB MEG members as soon as possible.
We are stepping in to the digital age with a giant leap. Creating a new website, a blog/news feed as well as incorporating social media sites. We invite you to help us come of age. Please like, twitter, subscribe and email us at Dryridge Estate. We look forward to hearing from you!