The Hunter Valley experienced a mostly dry winter with regular rainfall throughout September. This, in conjunction with a focus our Viticulturalist on creating a sustainable environment within the Mount Pleasant vineyards – mulch, cover crops etc which has resulted in some of the healthiest vines on the estate in recent years. Vines have been developing great canopies, especially the Lovedale vineyard which has assisted greatly in warding off sunburn of fruit. Fruit came in on schedule for the most part and is looking expressive with healthy sized bunches and no disease pressure across all sites.

This years’ standout in terms of quality is the Lovedale vineyard. It has been picked at low baumes, fully ripe and with great acidity. Already in tank the wines are showing elements of the traditional lemongrass characters that are endemic of Lovedale with the winemaking team already pinning this as the best Lovedale seen in recent times.

The Mothervine Pinot Noir has come off softer and quite elegant this year with softer tannins setting the base for a different yet resoundingly pretty style of Pinot coming from the 2019 vintage.

The Shiraz that has been harvested are showing higher baumes and a ripeness than standard for the Hunter which is anticipated to deliver wines a bit richer than usual. However, the fruit is still showing excellent Hunter Valley characters that will deliver the medium bodied style that the wines are so well known for.

The team are consistently impressed by the old vine fruit that has stayed the course through the adverse conditions to deliver stunning fruit from across the estate. The broad and full canopies are really assisting in the fantastic development of the fruit with tannin and flavour all coming through beautifully with this fruit. All hallmarks of these amazing vines.

There are a number of patches left to harvest as of 15 February, including 1946 Shiraz vines from Rosehill as well as the Sagrentino, Mencia and Vermentino some of which are coming online for the very first season.

A patch that has been dormant for a number of years that will also be ready to harvest soon is the 1968 Shiraz vines on the Rosehill site. These vines are looking particularly impressive and hold a special place in the heart of our winemaking team as they were planted by Brian Walsh, protegee of Maurice O’Shea and Ex-Chief Winemaker who sadly left us on 12 February 2019 – he was 89. Brian would have been incredibly pleased with the beautiful fruit these vines have delivered to Mount Pleasant this vintage and the team look forward to seeing the wines they will create.

The sites that have been standout this vintage include both the Old Hill and Old Paddock blocks, the Pinot Noir which is looking more juicy and softer which will offer a great option for blending and as stand alone Mothervine. The stand out of the vintage so far have been the old vine material on the Lovedale site.

The last two vintages have all seen great success and 2019 will be no exception. All standouts in their own way, the 2019 vintage is looking very similar to that of 2013.

To date the site has processed 250 tonnes of fruit which is 10% up from the 2018 vintage and there are still a number of blocks to harvest. The increase in fruit has a lot to do with newer sites that are coming online (Vermentino, Mencia, Block 4 Old Hill Shiraz) plus the reinvigoration of the 1968 Shiraz vines on the Rosehill block.