The ride was long and radical. When we thought ‘this season has had it all’ it gave some more, and what more it gave!

The early winter rains were a blessing and the soil saturated and the dams overflowed, as did our level of satisfaction. Then things dried out. Spring was dramatically dry and cold and then turned nastily windy, hot and dry. The countryside suffered. With the dry and cold of early spring came frightening freezes and hard frosts that damaged the new shoots. Here we go we said. The fruit set was disrupted by winds and wildly swinging weather and the crop was further reduced. The summer was so severe, the countryside so vulnerable, the mood was glum and our concerns went well beyond our own crops. Our colleagues and countryfolk and the fauna and flora of many states were scorched and tormented by smoke and fire in unimaginable ways.

Then things turned, and then they turned again.

From the middle of summer, the middle of January, the rains came.  The mild weather made for smiles for the season, brows softened and stock was taken. The vines took this relief and freshened as the countryside flourished a remarkable green brightness. The mushrooms sprang and the fragile crop and rebounding vines suddenly became a concern; humidity, spores and mould, delays in ripening, where was it all headed? The maturity of the fruit was slow and long,  ambling past March into the fast fracturing of health and economy as we moved from the burning then the rains to the shutdown of the pandemic. Unimaginable.

So, starting early April, under the umbrella of distancing, the careful crop clipping and wary winery work went on and the crop came in. This fruit that carries these remarkable twists and turns, barely half a crop, now ferments calmly in isolation, save for some careful tending by a skeleton crew cautious of becoming so.

Twenty 20 has barely got going but there is already so much size and shape to the story. The juices and wines have much character and depth. Some are quite beautifully harmonious and well structured. Yet, however they actually taste, we will pour so much of what we have personally and collectively gathered into our emotions and thoughts when we drink them and reflect on……well, a season that’s hardly 20/20.