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I was feeling much better by now. We headed out to Blewitt Springs to S.C. Pannel where Ollie Bevan showed us around. This was my first time out and about in Australian vineyards. The first vineyard we went to I remember thinking by myself just how freakin big these vines are! We have loads of old vineyards in South Africa and even some really vigorous ones planted on Ramsey rootstock in the alluvial soils of the Breedekloof, but these bushies were HUGE!

It was an interesting morning discussing weed control, cover cropping, pruning techniques etc. Dylan is on another level in the vineyards. He is a true educator. Probably why he got his PhD! He has a hyper passion for viticulture, but his passion (seems to me) lies in transferring that information. Everywhere we went you could see people are hungry for his advice and his ideas. I think that’s what made us click the first time – mega passion for viticulture and thinking outside of the box.

Thanks to Ollie for taking the time to show us around.

Next we went to Yangarra.

This was a strategic visit. Dylan and I had already build the GIS terroir models and mapped all the vineyards. We knew beforehand exactly what each block/variety’s elevation, slope, aspect, solar irradiation and direct daylight hours was. We have built countless of these models across South Australia and Tasmania, so we had a good idea what the effect on wine styles will be. We were given vineyard tours of both properties – Yangarra and Hickinbotham (still makes me think of Shawn Micheals of the WWE – his surname is Hickenbottom..). The vineyard scenes where stunning. A lot in South Australia made me think of home. The landscape, the bluegum trees, mostly how things look here. The only thing I really missed the whole time was our mountains. We have majestic mountains in the Boland. The Drakenstein mountains, The Witzenberg, Simonsberg, Helderberg, Franschhoek just to name a few. These mountains play an integral role in shaping the viticulture landscape there. But back to McLarenvale..

After we spent some time going through the vineyards, discussing normal viti-nerd things, we went to taste some wines. The tasting was really cool, as Dylan and I asked to taste specific wines and we wanted to match them with our knowledge we acquired through the GIS studies. I showed this to everyone but seeing that these studies are relatively new in Australia, I don’t think anyone took notice, for if they did, they would have had the studies done for them immediately! Nonetheless, we learned heaps and that was our goal. Thanks to everyone that accommodated us and special thanks to Michael Lane.

Tomorrow is going to be amazing. I was looking forward to this for months. A proper tour of the Barossa…

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