Harvest in Barossa Valley, Australia

Published on 09/11/2020 by Priscilla Hennekam

Shall we make Australian wines together? 

This photo was taken by the assistant winemaker at the Hewitson winery in Barossa Valley, South Australia in March 2019. I was inside a tank pushing back the entire bunches of the Mourvèdre grape, also known as Mataro here in Australia or Monastrell in Spain.

Did you know that the oldest Mourvèdre grape in the world is here in Australia?

I was lucky to be working on the winemaking process for these grapes during the 2019 harvest. This vineyard was planted in 1853 in Barossa Valley, South Australia - the famous “Old Garden Mourvèdre” wine from Hewitson winery in Barossa Valley is the result from a vineyard over 160 years old.

The advantage of an older vineyard is its ability to produce concentrated grapes. Over the years, the vines begin to produce less fruit and, consequently, the yield per plant becomes lower, generating less grapes per hectare. The size of the bunch and the berries decreases, increasing the proportion between skin and juice, so we have more concentration of flavours. The roots of an old vine are deep, so the plant is able to seek nutrients and water from more pronounced subsoil reserves, resulting in better grape quality and in some cases greater complexity, as it displays superior genetic diversity compared to the genetic diversity of younger vineyards.