With a few other industry people from Sydney, we were put to work immediately; first on the sorting table (picking out any sub-par fruit) and then standing over some vats of Pinot doing gentle pump-overs. Lunch with the whole vintage crew was a highlight; tasting a few wines blind and being quizzed by the boss Dave Bicknell. However it was dinner at the Healesville Hotel where we really got down to business, tasting through most of Oakridge’s top wines within the ‘864’ tier – the pick being the 2016 Hazeldene Pinot Noir. Dinner (as always) was fantastic with some great discussion surrounding the Yarra Valley and Oakridge’s place within it.
The next morning we were taken to the vineyards we had been drinking from the night before. Hazeldene is a very special site with fantastic views over the valley below. It sits at 220 metres which is higher than many other sites in the valley and only helps to enhance the view. We discussed where Oakridge is heading and tasted some relatively new wines for the winery including an Arneis and a Pinot Meunier (which we have been stocking for the last 4-5 months). These are lesser known varieties but surely they will soon infiltrate the general population due to their sheer drinkability and affordability.
I always love getting down to the Yarra and this was the perfect way to see a winery in full swing during harvest. The whole Oakridge team is very happy with how vintage 2018 has panned-out so look out for these wines in the coming couple of years as they hit the market.