Meet the Winemaker - Steve James, Voyager Estate
Steve James, Manager of Winemaking and Viticulture at …
At last spring is here. The weather is warming up and those bare, woody vines are springing back to life. Budburst is the term given to the arrival of the spring leaves on the vines (literally the leaves burst from their buds, thanks to the final surge of energy stored in the roots and wood of the vine) and occurs at various stages throughout early spring. Different vines shoot at different times, for example Chardonnay tends to shoot early than Cabernet Sauvignon. The transition is rapid, from the formation of tiny buds, to the bursting of the leaves all happens in a matter of days. Next the vines will flower, self-pollinate and eventually tiny grapes will appear. The pollination of the flowers is a crucial stage and a frosty spring can be disastrous for the future grape harvest. It is important that the vines are positioned to minimise the impact of frost and gain the maximum benefit from the warmth of the sun.
Needless to say, this is a beautiful time of year in Australia’s wine regions. In Margaret River, over 2,500 species of wildflowers decorate the region in vivid colours with their delicate flowers. There are 150 species of orchid, many of which are rare and endangered, for example the beautiful spider orchid and giant donkey orchid, which are celebrated finds amongst botanical enthusiasts.
So while the winemakers watch and wait, and visitors delight in the arrival of beautiful spring flowers, the chefs get busy in our winery restaurants planning and preparing the new spring menus. An array of delicious local ingredients are now at their disposal. At Montalto on the Mornington Peninsula, where they are blessed with incredibly fertile soil for growing an array of produce, they are passionate about making the best use of it that they can. Montalto’s Estate to plate philosophy is this: if we can grow it and use it onsite, we will. If we can’t grow it onsite, we source as much as we can locally, seasonally, through sustainable and ethical production.
Josef Chromy will hold a special dinner next Friday 2nd October featuring as much of the new spring menu as they can possibly cram into a 5, 6 or 7 course progressive feast. Call 03 6335 8700 to secure your seat at the table.
We’ll keep you posted on the upcoming events at our member wineries, just pay a regular visit to our ‘What’s On’ page or like us on Facebook.