Cool growing season and high elevation helps Granite Belt wine region flourish for 2015 vintage. THURSDAY 19TH MARCH 2015: Sirromet Wines began its 2015 vintage in early February, with the first crush being Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit from their Granite Belt vineyards, to be used for premium sparkling base. The following weeks saw the harvest of Verdelho, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Chardonnay white varietals. Harvesting of red fruit has just begun, a little later than usual, with Petit Verdot for the red sparkling base crushed last week. “This year has produced a good level of complex acidities, flavours and regional characteristics, all very positive at this early stage of vintage” said Chief Winemaker Adam Chapman. “In comparison to McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley, who have already completed a very early vintage this year, we will continue to take in Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet right up until Easter, demonstrating that elevation is more significant than latitude for determining cooler-climate ripening conditions in Australia”. Adam credits the Granite Belt’s distinct characters of pristine, floral, zesty white wines, and soft, elegant and spicy red wines to the location, soil, climate and vine balance. At 820m of elevation, Sirromet’s vineyards are planted in decomposed granite with deep clay subsoils, allowing the fruit to gain great regional flavours unique to this part of the world. The Granite Belt region is 50kms long and 20kms wide, with some of Australia oldest soils and rock formations. “With soil elevation being one of the most important features of world viticulture, it is nice to know that the Granite Belt will be at least 8°C cooler than Brisbane on any given day; this has to do with the rule that for every 1000ft increase in altitude there is a drop of 3°C in temperature. The average elevation of 2300ft within the Granite Belt helps dramatically with flavour development due to the cool of the late afternoon and cold nights, just like in Mendoza in Argentina, where some vineyards are grown at elevations in excess of 1700m,”Adam said. Chapman said Sirromet expected to crush a total of 500-tonnes of fruit from the 2015 vintage. Varietals being harvested from Sirromet’s three vineyards located in Ballandean, within the Granite Belt wine region are: SEVEN SCENES, BALLANDEAN (52-ha): Chardonnay, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot ST JUDE’S, BALLANDEAN (25-ha): Pinot Gris, Viognier, Chardonnay, Verdelho, Nebbiolo, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon NIGHT SKY, BALLANDEAN (23-ha): Chardonnay, Verdelho, Pinot Gris, Viognier As in past years, fruit harvested from Sirromet’s vineyards at Ballandean will be transported by a fleet of refrigerated trucks in a 220km/three-hour drive to the winery’s production site at Mount Cotton. The grapes are then unloaded and crushed early in the morning in preparation for fermentation of the new wines.