Our Pinot Noir Project
Pinot Noir at Pfeiffer Wines has always been special but it took Ampelographer, Dr. Gerald Atkinson, from Lincoln University in New Zealand to excite us all to realise the treasure we have right here, on our Sunday Creek Vineyard in Wahgunyah, NE Victoria.
Gerald arrived one very hot day (42 degrees) in early January 2019, and he and I walked up and down every single row of these oldest vines on our property. Gerald exclaimed with pleasure at what he saw and the more excited he became, I matched it with my own enthusiasm and gratitude for the belief I always had (without really knowing why), in these gnarly old vines. Gerald believes these vines are part of the Busby collection of vines that came to Australia from the Premier Crus Vineyard, Clos de Vougeot, in Burgundy, France. Gerald instructed me to look for the healthy vines that were ageing well, mark them for cuttings to be taken during the pruning season, pot them up to grow through Summer with fingers crossed they would survive. I am pleased to say that I only lost 19 cuttings. Gerald duly arrived back here in January this year, 2020 to check on the vines progress. I was relieved and pleased that he was pleased.
Now the next step is to plant them this Winter of 2020, in our veggie patch where they can be watered and kept safe from the mouths of hares and rabbits for another 12 months. The plan is to graft 1/2 of these onto phylloxera resistant rootstock and hope like mad they survive. If they do, the other 1/2 can be grafted. Another year on in the nursery (ex-veggie patch), they can then be planted into the vineyard. Gerald wants them planted into a spare block alongside the existing vines, because this site has clearly suited the original vines for the last 60-70 years. Another 5 years on, with any luck, the first crop will be harvested and the preservation of these precious vines will be complete and yet on-going. I hope I am here to see this project through to completion and enjoy the results of my labours in a beautiful glass suited for enjoying a “pfine” Pinot Noir.