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Winemaker in name only
Supporting Member
Apr 2, 2019
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Heathcote, VIC
...or "How to produce 100-proof riesling"

Two things can be made given enough pressure and time, diamonds and a backyard vineyard. After getting the go-ahead from the Minister of Everything i have finally planted my own little vineyard and seeing the first little green and pink shoots. Cannot tell you how excited I am!

I have been making wine for 4 years now, slowly starting to get to the point where they're tasting pretty good, but unfortunately here in Australia we have very little access to fruit, and when you do it's mostly just Shiraz. I've been lucky as I used to be a house painter and farmers like getting something for free, so I've been able to (unfairly!) trade painting for grapes. So far been able to make shiraz, cab sav, temporillo, mourvedre, merlot, chenin blanc, and chardonnay to varying degrees of success. Fun;y enough the whites have been fantastic but the reds have been a little underwhelming.

Two varieties you simply cannot get your hands on here in Oz is riesling and sangiovese, they're simply just too desirable in the market so growers just don't give it up. So I was able to convince my wife to agree to a little backyard vineyard in the hope of nice cheap wine down the road.

A quick pick so far:


This along with those down the side of the house give me 45 riesling and 43 sangiovese. It also highlights my first error...

For some stupid reason I was under the impression that you get about a bottle of wine per vine. I have no idea where I got that from but I have only recently looked right into it and it seems I will be getting much more juice than I bargained for in a few years time! About to replace 12 of those riesling vines with viognier and thinking of replacing some of the sangiovese with another red variety next winter. A little too late to find bare rooted vines of obscure varities here unfortunately.

I look forward to trawling through past threads to learn a hell of a lot of more above the books I have already read. I always rather talk to those who have experience and expertise in these things.

Might use this thread as a diary of sorts, for those of you who might be interested in a little vineyard being started in country Victoria with a different set of hurdles that you guys might be used too. That big round yellow thing in the sky for instance.
Very nice. I have 90 vines in my backyard and another 2 acres at the main vineyard location. I'd suggest you let your vines grow and not be thinking of replacements yet. You have another couple years before you get any harvest and the first couple harvests will be light. You may lose some vines in the process.

I'm interested in how well Riesling will do for you.
The riesling was against my better judgement given how much sun we get here. It's more about learning for the first few years so plenty of time to read up on management strategies for hot climates. We have a couple of local wineries that make premium drops so I plan on annoying the sh*t out of a few of the local growers, maybe donate some days work for the chance to pick their brains.
FYI; the production you get depends on the size/ age of the roots. You have the option of grafting and for laughs could have four kinds of grape on a root trellised to the four corners.
I can’t make out the vine spacing. It was a rude awakening to see all the vineyards near Lake Balaton Hungary use about one meter spacing, different regions use different growing standards.
The No. Va. viticulture consultants are advocating (for vinifera- to them there are no other grapes) 3 feet/one meter between the vines and four feet between the rows. That’s my spacing in the backyard. Very tight.
Good luck with your vineyard. It looks very nice. I assume you are ina very dry climate since it looks like you are mulching with rock. Looks like you have a ready source of water nearby though.

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