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translation missing: en.The Vintage Experience - 2016: The Vintage Experience - 2016

I got the opportunity to go down to Eden Road for my first vintage earlier this year, to check out how the process works during the busiest time of the year. Chris Loth is again making his wine CLO out of Eden Road, which will be on tasting at Northbridge in the coming weeks.

We were staying at the winery, we arrived on a Sunday afternoon, and the winery was pretty deserted except for Mike Lloyd, assistant wine maker who was racking barrels. My first experience to vintage was three frogs in the toilet of our accommodation, which I was informed is a common thing and to watch out for!!! The winery itself is extremely picturesque, with an extensive Cellar Door and great outdoor area, it’s a wonderful destination to pop in and visit if you’re in the area.

I started my first day by climbing inside the press to clean out the skins and stalks, resulting in my clothes becoming absolutely saturated, but it definitely woke me up. After this, Winemaker Nick Spencer put me in charge of foot stomping the Pinot Noir grapes. Eager to jump around in the tubs and get some firsthand experience, I realised it was very physical work, much harder than it appears. While the skins look soft, they form a thick hard cap on top of the wine. I was practically jumping up and down at one stage just trying to break the top layer, before plummeting through the canopy, sitting waste deep in the wine.

With so much to do the day goes extremely quickly, towards the end I was told to test Nick and Mike’s skills. Grabbing a glass I was told to go to any barrel, bottle or tank and pour a little in the glass and give it to them and see what they say. I give them both enormous credit, they could guess the wine down to the exact barrel in their winery. Pretty amazing if you ask me!!

It was a bright and early start the next day and as soon as we got to the winery, the Shiraz was already waiting to be sorted. Having never used a forklift, I definitely think I had mastered it by the end of vintage. I used this to tip the freshly picked Shiraz into the de-stemmer, this was then pumped into huge tubs ready to be fermented. Looking around the winery, there is just so much going on. Some grapes ready to be pressed and de-stemmed, others sitting in barrels or tanks fermenting away, and the rest going through the final stages about to be bottled. It’s a very exciting place to be during this time of year.

Being surrounded by a passionate and enthusiastic group really rubs off on you. It has given me a real insight into the hard work and dedication that goes into making wine. I plan to return to Eden Road during the year and see the stages the wine goes through before it is bottled and available for all to taste.