‘Thirst For’ December 2015 Newsletter (click to expand)
In this Newsletter:
What’s Been happening at de la terre
Summer 6-Pack Specials
Blanc de Blancs – Hand Disgorging
Summer Opening Hours
What’s been happening at de la terre
We have had an incredibly busy time over the last 3 months, which is why you haven’t heard from us for a while. In short, we have labelled and dispatched half a container of wine to China (ie 480 cases, all hand-labelled and packed on site); the pizza oven is up and running; we have been busy bottling some of the 2015 white wines and have almost finished bottling the 2014 reds; AND we have disgorged our first Methode Traditionnelle Blanc de Blancs, which is now for sale.
We are also starting to look forward to next year’s vintage, planning the styles of wines that we intend to make. This is a critical step in the winemaking process – we will tell you more about this in the New Year.
On top of all that we have been doing some extensive advertising locally which has resulted in very busy weekends in the café and cellar door.
Since we were so busy, we decided to delay our Viognier 5 Ways weekend until next year. This will be a really interesting tasting experience – how to make 5 quite different styles of wine from the same grape variety by altering the way the vines are managed in the vineyard through to how the grapes are handled in the winery and the way the wine is made.
We have a few new wines for sale (see ‘New Releases’ below), and the 2014 reds, that some of you have been waiting patiently for, will be released towards the end of January. We have also put together some six pack combinations for your enjoyment over Summer (see ‘Summer 6-Pack Specials’ below). These packs will be available at these prices until the end of January 2016.
So the last 12 weeks have just flown by – hard to believe that Christmas is next week!
We are looking forward to a relaxing couple of days off – Christmas Day and Boxing Day (we are not open/will not open on those days) – when we will enjoy a few bottles of our blanc de blancs with crayfish and new potatoes freshly dug from our garden, and appreciate the fact that we are really lucky to be living where we are and enjoying what we do.
Thank you for your support this year – we really appreciate the fact that you are coming on this journey with us. Who knows where it will lead, but we do know that 2016 is going to be another really exciting year for us, and, we hope, for you.
We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season. If you still believe in Santa, we hope he brings you all the right presents, and if not the right present, at least one that makes you smile.
Wishing you all the best for 2016.
Kaye and Tony Prichard
de la terre winery
We have just released the following wines:
de la terre Methode Traditionnelle Blanc de Blancs 2013 $45 per bottle
Truly hand-made from picking the grapes through to application of the Champagne hood and individually numbered neck label
de la terre Mary’s Rosé 2015 $18 per bottle
This Summer’s Rosé is a blend of Syrah and Barbera
de la terre Late Harvest Viognier 2015 $24 per 375ml bottle
Sweet, vibrant and very enjoyable.
de la terre Noble Viognier 2015 $34 per 375ml bottle
Even better than the 2013, smooth, rich and full of flavour
Email us to order any of these wines
Summer 6-Pack Specials
These specials are available until the end of January 2016, or while stocks last.
de la terre Estate Wine 6-Pack
2 each of the Viognier 2014, Chardonnay 2014 and Syrah 2013
Normal price $156 Our Summer Special 6-Pack price $132
de la terre Reserve Wine 6-Pack
2 each of the Reserve Viognier 2014, Reserve Chardonnay 2013 and Reserve Syrah 2013
Normal price $240 Our Summer Special 6-Pack price $204
de la terre New Year Celebration 6-Pack
2 x Blanc de Blancs 2013, 1 x Reserve Viognier 2014, 1 x Reserve Chardonnay 2013, 1 x Barbera 2013, 1 x Reserve Syrah 2013
Normal price $250 Our Summer Special 6-Pack price $212
de la terre Summer Beach/BBQ 6-Pack
2 each of Mary’s Rosé 2015, Viognier 2014, Chardonnay 2014
Normal price $132 Our Summer Special 6-Pack price $112
If you wish to purchase any of these 6-packs at these prices, e-mail us before 31/01/2016
Blanc de Blancs – Hand Disgorging
In our last newsletter (a few months ago), we promised to give you information on the disgorging process for our Methode Traditionnelle (aka ‘bubbles’). We learnt a lot as we completed each step, especially since this was the first time we had used our new disgorging equipment. The process was slow-going to start with, but as we understood more about the equipment, we did make better progress.
There are several key steps in hand-disgorging
- the first step is removing the yeast lees from the bottle (remember we spent several months on the ‘riddling’ step to move the lees down into the neck of the bottle). The equipment we bought included a neck freezer – the bottles sit upside down in a glycol bath for a few minutes to freeze the wine in the bottle neck (which contains the yeast lees). The crown seal is then removed and the frozen plug pops out. But, having learnt about the technique ‘à la volée’ where the crown seal is removed from the bottle without freezing the neck (and having practised this technique as we ‘tracked’ the progress of the riddling process), Tony decided this was the way to go. Once the crown seal is removed and the neck wine is disgorged, the neck is plugged (by thumb) and the pressure is allowed to release without the loss of a lot of wine. Disgorging is a messy process regardless of the method used, unless you have a lot of money to set up some specialist equipment – our specialist equipment was a pair of fishing waders (watch the video)!
- the next step is to replace the wine that was lost – at this point sugar can be added if a sweeter wine is required. We have chosen to keep the wine ‘dry’ (‘zero dosage’)so our topping wine was just more of the same (minus the yeast lees)
- the cork is then applied – champagne corks start life as a straight cork (like you (used to) find in any bottle of wine) but of a larger diameter, and the corking machine squeezes the lower part of the cork before pushing it part-way into the bottle
- the muselet (wire) is then applied to hold the cork in – our machine grabs hold of the loop in the wire, compresses the top over the cork and gives it a damn good twist to tighten the wire around the neck of the bottle
- a final dip in water to rinse any spilt wine off the outside, a quick dry and the job is done
- EXCEPT for the labelling! At present Kaye is applying all the front and back labels, hoods (shrouds) and neck labels by hand. Tidy application of the hoods does require a bit of skill, which she is learning fast.
We have put together a short video of the disgorging process so you can see what we have described above. Click here to view video – we have also put a link to this on our website.
We fired up the pizza oven on the Saturday of Labour Weekend, and it didn’t get a chance to cool down for the rest of the weekend, even on Labour Day when the weather left a lot to be desired – nothing like learning on the job! We have made pizzas every weekend since.
We make our own pizza dough and have developed a range of toppings which are proving to be
- a) very tasty and
- b) very popular.
Wood-fired pizzas are fun, although a little stressful at times – we are still on the steep learning curve of managing the fire – there is no thermostat on a pizza oven!!! To (mis)quote British comedian Micky Flanaghan “It’s good to have another thing to worry about.”
Summer Opening Hours
We are closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The winery and café will be open every day from December 28th 2015 to January 4th 2016, and we will be serving platters and wood-fired pizzas each day during that week. If you do wish to have a meal, we advise calling us on 06 874 3224 to make a reservation.
We will then go back to our normal opening hours of Friday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm, or by appointment.