Monday 16 – Sunday 29 October 2017
10 am – 5 pm daily (4 pm on weekends)
McLaren Vale Visitor Information Centre, Main Road
When I work at our pop up cellar door, there are the questions I always expect to answer, and then there are ALWAYS ones I’ve never heard before! Like…
“How many bunches of grapes does it take to make a bottle of wine?”
Now, I knew he was asking because he wanted to know how many bunches he’d need to make a bottle of his own wine in his backyard…but in case you’re curious, if we’re talking about Shiraz for example (since it is the most widely planted variety in South Australia, and McLaren Vale), it would take about 10 bunches of grapes to make one bottle.
That’s also if we’re talking about making the wine in the De Lisio style of winemaking, as the extraction methods used by different winemakers will affect the amount of juice each bunch will produce.
“How is the health of the bees in McLaren Vale?”
Shamefully I’d never really thought much about the role of the bees in McLaren Vale, but that is the plight of bees all over the world – working hard to help our food, our flowers and our entire planet flourish, yet being taken for granted.
I’d also never thought of a grapevine as a flowering plant in the same way you think about an almond blossom giving way to the almonds, or the flowers on a lemon tree becoming lemons. However, grapevines have flowers just like all other fruiting plants, and you’ll see those delicate flowers just before they turn into grapes. Budburst will occur around the time you’ll see me back at the Pop Up Cellar Door at the Visitor Information Centre, then towards the end of the year you’ll see (if you look closely enough) the flowers on the vine, which will then become fruit.
“Do you put the honey in there?”
Still on the theme of bees, people often ask about the name of our ‘Honeypot’ Moscato. No, there’s not actually honey in there, honey is just one of the flavour characteristics which comes from the fermentation of the Frontignac grape.
The same goes for all of our wines, while you may be able to pick out the red berry, the anise, the leather or the chocolate flavours, we haven’t added any of these things. The flavours in the wines are all there naturally, all we do is allow for the natural fermentation of the grapes and their natural concentration in barrel, where they can pick up flavours from the oak.
Yes, people ask me this at cellar door all the time, and no, they’re not from another planet. Often they’re from Europe, where because of our Aussie accent and the different spelling, they don’t recognise their Syrah grape in its Australian incarnation.
Shiraz and Syrah are the same grape varietal, but they result in a different style of wine because of the differences in old world and new world winemaking techniques, and of course weather and soil differences.
This is one of the reasons I love spending time behind the bar at cellar door, because I do know the answers to most of your questions, and when I don’t, we both learn something!
See you in October when I’m sure you’ll have all new questions ready for me. Cheers,
Vanessa De Lisio