Welcome home
Henry Evans timeline
Evandale wines
Wine review
Devotion to purpose
Current Vintage Report
Touching base

Good winter and early spring rains filled the soils and set the vines up well for the season.  July to September rainfall in the Eden Valley was 36% above average, yet only 85% was recorded during October and 24% in November, which in effect equates to a dry spring.
(Barossa Grape & Wine Association, 16 April 2014 summation)

Spring Frost
With the vines in full growth and flowering, November's cold dry nights induced unseasonal frost. Bunch set in the Riesling, Grenache and Mataro varieties was affected and subsequently we had to lower our yield expectations.

Summer Heat & Fire
The prolonged heat of early January put a strain on the watering system, and thankfully, the vines coped well. Drastically, attention was soon diverted.
The January 14 fire at Flaxman's Valley devastated the grazing land of Dick and Michael Evans' Wootoona, foreshadowing worse to come.

Three days later it did and it was all hands on deck in defence of the Eden Valley fire as the 20 km fire front swung around with the violent SE cool change to threaten all in its swift NW path.

The fire front that came perilously close to Keyneton was halted at Graetztown some 2.5 km across country to the SE of Evandale Estate. Many in the district were affected and much time thereafter was spent on the fire ground monitoring danger spots and "mopping up." At Evandale Estate we were fortunate and count our blessings the grapes were not, at the very least, smoke tainted.

Split berries & not-so-noble-rot
A month to the day (Valentine's Day) 150mm of steady rain fell within 24 hours and in no time (or what seemed as) there was green feed for stock.
The rain caused some grape splitting with the Riesling worst affected, followed by the Traminer, Shiraz, and Mataro.  The Grenache & Alicante Bouchet avoided damage.

The skin breakage of grape berries plus the moist conditions made this year's harvest susceptible to the fungal disease, Botrytis cinerea.
As the baume in the white varieties was below peak and a few weeks remained until harvest, the entire crop was vulnerable to the malevolent form of Botrytis - grey rot.

[If the season was further advanced and the hot, dry conditions resumed, the risk would have been the benevolent form of the Botrytis fungus - noble rot - from which a sweet dessert wine can be made provided the grapes have been allowed to shrivel (concentrating the baume.]

The likelihood of outbreak was very real, and it would spread rapidly throughout the vineyards, potentially causing significant loss to both the quality and grape yield.

Preventative Maintenance
Each winter Mandy prunes to encourage the vine rods to grow vertically.  As the season progresses some thinning of the rods may be required, but not this year.
A light-medium canopy is maintained for maximum sunlight and air flow and as bunches develop they are thinned to eliminate tight cluster-growth. This year no
bunch thinning was required for the white varieties. Yet, for vignerons in the Eden Valley this vintage, the conditions tested their best efforts.

To aid the drying of the Riesling and Traminer berries to reduce, if not avoid, the risk of Botrytis infection, a precautionary spraying with Potassium Metabi-sulphate was undertaken a week after the rain. Vigilantly monitoring the grapes, Mandy was rewarded - the spraying strategy worked extremely well.

In the lead up to harvest Mandy went through every vine removing any bunches with the slightest appearance of infection - six bunches in all, and all mild cases.

The protective bird netting was removed and the Riesling and Traminer grapes handpicked on Wednesday 12 March. Mandy's efforts were rewarded with top quality fruit. Crushing and fermenting followed and winemaker and recently endowed Baron of Barossa, Jo Irvine has since infused her magic.
The 2014 Riesling Traminer is now bottled comprising 68% Riesling and 32% Traminer.

Enticing aromatics of rose petals from the Traminer married with the lemon and limes from the Riesling makes this wine exceptionally attractive.
These flavours follow through on the palate with a crisp, zingy acidity enhancing the wine's length and balance. -
Jo Irvine, winemaker

The reds
The Shiraz grapes experienced a reasonable amount of split, most of which dried without spraying as their foliage is light allowing excellent air flow.

As temperatures cooled the vines started to shut down for the winter. Luckily, with a few warm days and the rain holding off, they made timely ripening.

We decided the harvesting of the Shiraz grapes be a fund raiser for the local tennis club. With locals donating their labour and their 'pay' going to Club, grapepicking was on Sunday 6 April - at the perfect baume and a day before the rain came.
As more rain fell and perfect conditions endured, Botrytis again struck.
The Mataro and Alicante Bouchet escaped infection but the Grenache, renowned for large and very tight bunches, proved susceptible. With a few weeks yet before being ready to harvest it was vital to remove all Botrytis.

Most vine rods in the vineyard stand upright except the vigorous end-growth. Although no rod thinning on any variety was necessary this year, increased air flow to dry the Grenache bunches as much as possible was essential.
Mandy hedged all low hanging rods by hand and promptly followed with an inspection of every single bunch. Those presenting with the slightest sign of the fungus were cut out.  This was done with extreme care, straight into a bucket and removed from the vineyard, ensuring none was dropped to the ground to aid spore spread. This resulted in a loss of about a quarter of a tonne.

In previous seasons Radford Wines at Flaxman's Valley has taken the Grenache, Mataro, and Alicante Bouchet fruit. This season's fruit was bought by Rockford Wines, Krondorf.