Little damage from hail but the rain was the ice-ing on Pokolbin's cake

NO WORRIES: Jeff Byrne says while the hail has the wine industry holding its breath, any damage was only minor. Picture: Marina Neil.
NO WORRIES: Jeff Byrne says while the hail has the wine industry holding its breath, any damage was only minor. Picture: Marina Neil.

The Hunter’s recent deluge which included a fair share of hail, has done little to dampen the enthusiasm of Pokolbin vignerons.

Keith Tulloch of Keith Tulloch Wines and Jeff Byrne from Agnew Wines (Audrey Wilkinson, Cockfighter’s Ghost and Poole’s Rock) are happy with the way their vines stood up to the pounding.

In fact the downpour after months of dry conditions, was welcomed.

Mr Byrne said the worst hit from the hail was the verdelho block at Audrey Wilkinson.

“But fortunately it did very little damage, with only a few scars,” he said.

“We’re confident it won’t impact us too much.

“I’ve seen some more significant damage in other pockets of the Valley,” Mr Byrne said.

Keith Tulloch was of similar opinion and said hail caused minimal damage to his two vineyards.

“We expect whatever slight impact that occurred to be negligible by the time we get to harvest in January,” Mr Tulloch said.

“The storm moved down the Hunter Valley and increased in size, so its effects were felt more towards Newcastle and the coast.

“Wine Country itself only saw the early storm development, so we were much safer.”

In other vineyard news, a new cellar door is in the planning for Brokenwood Wines.

We expect whatever slight impact that occurred to be negligible by the time we get to harvest in January

Keith Tulloch

The project has been on the drawing board for a number of years and the winery’s management have announced the first sod is about to be turned.

To mark the event the winery will hold a special ceremony on Wednesday. Managing Director and Chief Winemaker Iain Riggs will talk about plans for the development which will happen next to the existing cellar door.

On the show scene Tyrrell’s 2005 Vat 1 Semillon that has swept all before it on the show circuit, will be retired at the end of this year after being named top wine at the recent NSW wine awards.

The wine, which will go on sale next year at $150 a bottle, has won 30 trophies and more than 150 gold medals. “It has earned a rest, it has done a great job for us,” said Bruce Tyrrell. Ironically the 2005 almost never made it to the show circuit with divided opinion over whether the 2006 was a better wine.