Bloodwood viticulture and wine making philosophy
Our viticulture is ecologically non-invasive and no insecticides have ever been used on or near the vineyard. All vines are hand-pruned (mostly by Stephen) and hand-picked, not by Stephen.
Light, supplementary irrigation is applied when necessary and mildews are controlled through preventative elemental Copper and Sulfur applications during most growing seasons.
All vines are trellised using V.S.P. (vertical shoot positioning) or adapted Scott-Henry systems to assist excellent light and air penetration of the canopy. Great care is taken to work closely with nature in our vineyard and our medium term goal is to leave as small a negative footprint on the environment as possible. While Australian viticulture is considered to be a clean and green activity by today's abysmal agricultural standards, we at Bloodwood are aware of our continuing responsibility as a part of this beautiful and fragile environment.
With a fermentation capacity of 75,000 liters, Bloodwood is hardly a blip on the weigh-bridge of the Australian wine industry and our annual production of about 4000 cases of wines over 7 or 8 styles means that our wines are pretty hard to find away from the cellar door. As with the vineyard, we try to allow the fruit to express itself fully in the wine, and we have a minimally interventionist philosophy towards wine making. Sulfur levels are kept to a minimum effective dose throughout the preparation of each wine and all winery wastes are re-cycled through the vineyard. When transferring wines about the cellar, the design of the facility allows us to use gravity in many cases. The red styles usually undergo some post fermentation maceration, while the whites are exclusively whole-bunch pressed as we find this method is the most gentle on the fruit. We believe the art of good wine making is having the knowledge and experience to know when to do nothing. We use exclusively French oak hogsheads for maturation of both whites and reds at Bloodwood.
The vineyard is located on the mid slopes of a free standing, north and easterly facing headland comprised of some of the oldest soils on this planet. Low vigour soils of calcareous laminated silt stone, greywake and limestone breccia overlying a friable red clay base and a deeply fissured Middle Ordovician volcanoclastic parent material provide an ideal environment for the manageable growth of vines in what is a soft, cool and sunny continental Australian environment. Annual rainfall averaging a little over 800 mm is, historically, winter dominant, with the ripening months of March, April and May traditionally the driest. (No one mentions vintage 2000 or 2007) Although we can experience several snow falls during winter and into spring, the mean temperature of 20 degrees C (70 degrees F) for January helps bring the mean annual temperature up to a comfortable 12.8 degrees C. As averages by definition are numbers which rarely exist in the real world, we do insure our vineyard against the ever present threat of Australian drought. We judiciously use supplemental irrigation water which we harvest from the slopes of Bloodwood and apply when extraordinarily dry periods occur at crucial times of the vine's annual cycle. We use about 1 megalitre of water per hectare per year for this purpose.