Where does One Bunch Pinot fit into the scheme of things

It has been a long journey for us to the point of releasing a label…

Vines can yield a crop as early as their third year in a warm climate. For Tasmania, you usually would add a year or two to that figure, depending on how hard you push your vines.

For Gryphonwood, things didn’t go as smoothly as they could have. Aside a variety of infrastructure issues such as contractors, telecommunication cables and availability of materials, we went toe to toe with Mother Nature herself!

In 2006, a thumping great frost event affected vineyards throughout Tasmania, southern Victoria and south eastern South Australia. Some half a million tonnes of fruit was lost from the 2006/07 Australian vintage due to the frosts and drought of that season.

For us, it meant three lost years of production on our MV6 block while the young vines recovered, and a complete loss of one hectare of very young vines! Our D5V12 block was too little to cope, and so must be replanted.

Shortly after our D5V12 was lost our baby 777 vines, still in a nursery block, were raided by a possum or two that mowed the vines bare. After three such attacks, despite our best efforts to protect them, the 5000+ vines were killed. It took another two seasons for us to get the lower vineyard populated with vines. At two years old these vines were battered by the most severe winds we have experienced, their grow guards shearing many young vines off at the ground, or exposing them to happy sheep that had broken through a fence to ‘dine among the vines’.

Ode To the One Bunch

We thought we would finally have a harvest for the 2009/10 vintage, until clouds of European wasps descend on our vineyard through February and March, devouring everything they could!

Ben found one good bunch in the whole block, and cried “This shall be our One Bunch to make it to vintage!”

He dashed down to his shed to fashion a gilded cage to protect the bunch. By the time he got back up the block, that bunch, too, was gone. While the grapes were lost, the legend of the one bunch was born.

2011 season was looking the goods, with small bunches and small berries. We thought we would be putting our fruit towards our first sparkling wine, until Ben broke his shoulder and went under the knife to repair the damage. Being unable to maintain the vineyard, or manage jobs such as netting or driving the tractor, Mel and Ben concluded the season was lost. The crop was dropped from the vines. Ben was incapacitated for most of 2011, which compromised our preparations for 2012.

As Ben got back on his feet, the family was hit by a strange and rare auto-immune condition that saw most of the kids hospitalised. Whilst things went swimmingly for most, poor old Jack has fallen into the rarest of groups where this condition continues to dog him three years on, with no end in sight…but at least the most recent of his Royal Childrens’ Hospital visits have timed well for A-League matches and the recent Asian Cup! Happy lad!

…sometimes we think we should have invested in a doctor’s practice, rather than wine…

As part of our new business direction, we are relaunching our website, introducing our wine club and  maintaining our stall at  Launceston’s Harvest Market as our cellar door. The market is going from strength to strength, and we are happy to be there!

Our high elevation will mean each growing season will have a heavy say in the styles of wine we produce – warm seasons will give us table wines, while cooler seasons may see us prioritise sparkling production.

We also have room for expansion at Gryphonwood, and we must consider which varieties will work best here. If we look to producing Sparkling wine consistently, then Chardonnay and even Pinot Meunier must wine out…sorry, win out.

Otherwise, perhaps Riesling, Pinot Gris; or maybe something more unusual, such as Grüner Veltliner?