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Vintage was the earliest in my career, all shiraz picked in February. Unheard of in the Grampians! Even with average to large crops, the regular small bouts of rain and continual warmth and mild diurnal differential gave perfect conditions for growth and ripening – nothing to stop the ripening other than picking. Grapes were in fantastic condition, sugars fractionally higher than normal, but flavours were full and earthy, unmistakably regional. To add finesse and spice I fermented with a higher than usual percentage of whole bunches, around 60%. I decided in the warm early year to declassify all our Westgate Vineyard material into this wine to firm up quality, so it is predominantly from that site, with the balance being from Hyde Park. This year’s label is an ode to the small winemakers out there that had to fight to retain their equal tax status against the threat of a government convinced by larger companies that only vineyard or winery asset ownership meant legitimacy. The established wineries driving this view may have land and tanks, but that’s not the only type of skin in the game.