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Sirromet Wines to cane cut Cabernet in 2008 vintage

Sirromet Wines of Queensland will cane cut 20% of the Cabernet fruit at its Granite Belt vineyards in the upcoming the 2008 Vintage harvest season.

Chief winemaker Adam Chapman said five-hectares of cabernet at Sirromet's vineyards at Ballandean would be cane cut in late March, approximately three weeks before being harvested.

"When the water evaporates in cane cut Cabernet it creates a higher concentration of sugar and acid, and a more complex variety of flavours," said Chapman.

"Most of this fruit is planned for use in our premium Seven Scenes range. The remaining Cabernet in our vineyards will continue to grow and ripen normally for use in other wines."

Chapman said Sirromet expected to harvest about 600-tonnes of fruit from its 162-hectares of vineyards in the 2008 Vintage, a similar total to 2007. The company has 150-hectares of vineyards at Ballandean, and 12-hectares at its headquarters at Mount Cotton, between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Sirromet's 2008 Vintage will start on January 29 with the harvesting of 20-tonnes of Chardonnay from its Seven Scenes vineyard at Ballandean for sparkling wine bases. The winery will begin harvesting other white fruit from its Granite Belt vineyards in late February, and red fruit in the late March-early April period.

Chapman said during the 2008 growing season Sirromet had continued to assess a 1-hectare block of close-planted Chardonnay at its Seven Scenes vineyard.

"This is a viticulture practice widely used in Burgundy and other parts of Europe," he said. "There are more vines, but less fruit and small, concentrated berries which usually increases the flavour."

"These vines were planted in late 2006. We removed the fruit in October (2007) to encourage shoot growth and help establish the vine trunks. It is hoped to make wine from this fruit in 2009."

Chapman said no fruit had been lost from the 199mm of rain which fell on Sirromet's Granite Belt vineyards on January 5 during the lead-up to the 2008 Vintage.

"The extra rain a few weeks ago topped up our water holdings which is good for the 2008 growing season," said Chapman. "Since then the weather has been cool and overcast, which made better ripening conditions for the rest of January compared to previous years."

"Our total acidity levels are the best seen on the Granite Belt for many years."

As in past years, Sirromet's 2008 Vintage Granite Belt fruit will be transported by a fleet of refrigerated trucks in a three-hour drive to the winery's production centre at Mount Cotton. The grapes will then be crushed and stored in refrigerated tanks.

Fruit at Sirromet's Mount Cotton vineyards will be harvested in early February.

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