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Mount Edelstone (from the German 'Edelstein' meaning gemstone) is a single dry grown Shiraz vineyard planted by Ronald Angas in 1918 and through the 1920s. Henschke made wines from Mount Edelstone as early as 1952, although Cyril Henschke did not purchase the vineyard until 1974. By this stage Mount Edelstone was already recognised as an important vineyard site. Located on the eastern slopes of Mount Edelstone this 40 acre vineyard comprises low yielding gnarled vines, many well into their eighties and planted on deep red sandy loams over laminated siltstones. This low input vineyard is being gradually re-trellised to the Scott Henry system, where shoots are trained upwards and downwards to maximise exposure of leaves and fruit to sunlight. The oldest vines are trained on a traditional two-wire trellis. The site is cooler and higher than the Barossa floor although the climate is essentially Mediterranean. Vintage takes place in mid to late April. The wine is fermented in open top slate 'headed down' fermenters. Fermentation is completed in a combination of new American and French oak.
Henschke Vineyard Technical Information:
Location: Eden Valley wine region, 4 km north-west of Keyneton in the Barossa Range of South Australia.
Varieties: Shiraz, on own roots, dry grown.
Wines Produced: Individual vineyard bottling since early 1950s.
Age: Planted in 1918.
Average Yield: 6 tonnes/hectare (2.5 tonnes/acre).
Soil: Deep sandy loam, over red clay loam, overlying laminated siltstone.
Trellis: Five trellis types - Twin Wire Vertical, Vertical Shoot Positioned, High Single Wire, Scott Henry System and Smart Dyson.
Planting: Wide planting – 3.7 m x 3.7 m giving 783 vines/hectare. Rows are planted east-west. Dry grown.
Treatments: The vines are mulched with wheat straw with a permanent sward of grass in the row, so herbiciding and working the soil are techniques no longer used.
Maintenance Quality: Mass selection carried out over three growing seasons. Establishment of a nursery source block. Assessment of trellis systems and use of rootstock.
Rainfall: Average annual, 600 mm.
Altitude: 400 metres
Latitude: 34 degrees 32'
Longitude: 139 degrees 06'
Size: 16 hectares (40 acres)
Awards: National wine show awards for every vintage since first shown in 1956
Year Vintage Quality Optimum Drinking
1984 Excellent 20+ years
1985 Very Good15+ years
1986 Exceptional 20+ years
1989 Great 15+ years
1990 Exceptional 20+ years
1991 Excellent 15+ years
1992 Excellent 20+ years
1993 Great 20+ years
1994 Exceptional 25+ years
1995 Excellent 20+ years
1996 Exceptional 25+ years
1997 Very Good15+ years
1998 Excellent 15+ years
1999 Excellent 20+ years
2000 Great 15+ years
2001 Excellent 20+ years
2002 Exceptional 25+ years
2003 Great 15+ years
2004 Great 20+ years
2005 Exceptional 20+ years
2006 Excellent 20+ years
2007 Great 15+ years
2008 Great 15+ years
2009 Exceptional 20+years
2010 Great 15+ years
Australia Vintage Report: Below average rainfall through the growing season and storms and hail in October 1997 led to some yield losses. Parts of Eden Valley were also hit by Spring frosts which affected yields. This was followed by a warm dry summer, “an unhurried vintage” which produced reds of generally good quality but “forward, plain” whites.
In 1988 there were 5,468 hectares of vineyards in Barossa and 43,371 tonnes of wine grapes were crushed in that vintage.
Grape supply turned around dramatically with demand now exceeding supply, forcing grape prices up by an average of 20%. Chardonnay was in strong demand but Riesling demand dropped away.
The wine industry introduced the “Enjoy wine in moderation campaign” to head off health lobby criticisms.
Grant and Helen Burge started their own winery, Grant Burge Wines, in the old Moorooroo Cellars on the banks of Jacob’s Creek. Grant followed a five generation tradition started by English pioneer John Burge in 1855 of grapegrowing and winemaking. He also made the first vintage of Meshach Shiraz in 1988, a full bodied red wine sourced from old vine fruit, which was to become his company’s flagship and a multi-award winner.
In the same year, experienced wine marketer Bob McLean, whose career included brand development at Orlando and Petaluma, joined forces with fifth generation vigneron Karl Lindner and winemaker Stuart Blackwell to revitalise 44-year-old St Hallett Wines at Krondorf. St Hallett Old Block Shiraz was repositioned as a classic Barossa red wine.
Brian Walsh was appointed Chief Winemaker at Yalumba.
Senior management undertook a buy-out of Orlando Wines from Reckitt and Coleman.
Australia’s most successful membership based mail order wine club Cellarmaster Wines Pty Ltd established a winemaking and distribution base at Dorrien and opened Dorrien Estate winery (although there was no cellar door outlet).