From the Winemaker… The highlight has been Renee joining the company on a full-time basis. She brings to this new position enthusiasm and flair and will greatly enhance our marketing potential. We have also just completed our 2015 vintage with nearly 3,400 tonnes crushed in 8 ½ weeks – a very smooth and mostly problem free harvest. The new wines look very good with good fruit flavours and vibrant colours in the reds. We did some exciting Pinot Noir trials with Angela Sparrow from the University of Tasmania which was great to be a part of. We also made a trial batch of partially dried Nero d’Avola and Saperavi (a deep coloured Georgian variety) – an “Amarone” wine style which looks very interesting with great colour, flavour and length. I’m sure you will be hearing more about this wine in the future. Our launch of the River Retreat range of wines has also been a highlight for a cause we feel very passionate about. ~ Anthony Murphy   And the Vineyard… Autumn is the best time of year in Mildura for many reasons – the weather is delightful and harvest is done and dusted!  After a very good vintage our attention now turns to preparing for next harvest. Trellis repairs are well under way, vines need to be fertilized, irrigation lines to be flushed and filters cleaned and about 1 ½ acres of Pinot Noir has recently been removed and the ground will be rested for a year or two. Pruning is a little way off and this gives us time to plan for the varieties that require a little more attention such as Verdejo, Vermentino and the Petit Verdot which all need to be pruned more heavily than other vines. Every patch of vines has its own features and these vary from year to year; some patches have high numbers of spider, ants or snails or all three! These are most notable as they interfere with low level sprinklers. Spider webs that prevent sprinklers rotating are usually Redback webs. Weed problems change from year to year and the weed population is very weather dependent – particularly relating to the timing of rainfall. Like many areas of Australia we would welcome some good steady soaking rains. Till next time… ~ Pat Murphy