Genista Wines
Genista Wines

The start of the viticultural year, winter, was a busy one for us.

We hit the road for the Good Food and Wine Shows, going to our first (standard) show in Melbourne as well as our first time over to Perth, with Sydney in-between the two.

In the background to that, we were working on our first rosé, our first Sparkling Shiraz, and repeat vintages of Duck, Duck, Cat; The SG; and Taking the Mickie.

With frequent interstate trips away came frequent cold and flu symptoms and weeks spent on the couch. Time around that was spent winemaking, and occasionally time around that was spent pruning.

The winter rains pattered down around us, and Mickie came along to help with pruning. We revisited the Grenache and reworked it along with another small section of Shiraz, removing another trailer load of dead wood.

The growing season started in early-mid September as it so often does, and was fairly unremarkable for the rest of the calendar year. Some inclement weather around flowering (October-November) saw an overall yield reduction for many in the region. After two years of oversupply, most welcomed this reduction.

In January 2024, Sarah and I packed our bags for our very first overseas Genista trip. We attended the London and Edinburgh Wine Australia fair, showing our wines to wine industry folk in both cities. While we were away, two small bursts of rain kept the garden going, but this would be the last rain for over a month, and the last significant rainfall until – at the time of writing – May 2024. Which is to say it hasn’t rained yet.

February was the equal driest February on record, because you can’t have less than 0.0mm of rain.

Wine Australia 2024 Trade Show - London & Edinburgh

Sarah at Wine Australia in London

Temperatures had remained pleasant without excessive heat throughout summer. Veraison kicked off while we were in the UK. The mild weather created perfect ripening conditions, and with a lighter load on the vines, the fruit ticked along nicely.

Our fruit for rosé was ready for harvest on the 21st of February 2024. As luck would have it, this was the second hottest day in February with a high of 38-degrees. We started picking at first light and finished before midday to avoid the worst of it.

Handpicked fruit for Rosé 2024
Grapes picked for Rosé

Two weeks later, and with friends visiting, we picked the remainder of the Shiraz on the 2nd and 3rd of March. Perfectly mild at 25 degrees while we picked, the forecast for the following week was hot. A heatwave swept much of Australia in early March, giving us 9 days above 30 with many of those days above 35. With the Shiraz safely in the winery, I was a little nervous on behalf of the Grenache vines. Now at 80 years old, they’ve seen it all, and showed I needn’t worry.

We picked the balance of the Grenache on the 11th of March at a crisp 13.7 Baume and 3.4 pH. Another 38-degree day with an early start, we were glad to see the heatwave end on the 14th, but the old vines showed their strength in enduring the heat and delivering fresh, delicious Grenache.

Genista Wines Vintage 2024 Crew
Picking crew: Lloyd, Adam, Jess & Sarah

Harvest was all done and dusted for the bulk of the Barossa Valley by Easter, giving us all a nice little break. One benefit of an early vintage here, is the residual warmth in the air and in the wines following primary fermentation. Malo-Lactic Fermentation breezed through and before May we already have all wines safely tucked away in barrel, ready for the winter and ready for their maturation to begin. By comparison, we were still crushing fruit in May last year.

Our Shiraz yield was down around 30% on both 2023 and 2022. Grenache yield remained stable. Quality appears very good. Shiraz shows strong colour and flavour early on, though across the Valley high alcohols are a symptom of rapid sugar ripening due to the heatwave.