|Grapegrower & Winemaker||Wine & Viticulture Journal||Wine Industry Directory||
||Daily Wine News||
Angelo Puglisi, Ballandean Estate, Queensland
Name: Angelo Puglisi
Looking for new challenges has always been a part of my life. In the mid-1960s the challenge was to start a more modern approach to winemaking in Queensland and it has not been a smooth road to the top. The biggest challenge has been to convince the rest of the Australian wine industry that not all of Queensland is hot and tropical. The Granite Belt is 850m above sea level and is prone to severe frost in winter. It is quite common to have 35-45 frosts each year all the way to early October. Budburst starts at the end of September and frost damage is quite common. The summer is not hot and tropical and autumn is warm days and cold nights.
Background to Ballandean Estate's Viognier
It has not been hard to make decisions to plant varieties that are recommended for cool climate areas. What is cool climate anyhow?
I am not a fan of white or red wines from cool climate that are green and taste akin to battery acid. The Granite Belt has warm days and cool to cold nights (always less that 18°C degrees) throughout the summer months. On 16 November 2006 we had snow fall all day and on 17 November a -4°C frost. That freak weather was also felt in the rest of Australia.
Most of the vintage in the Granite Belt happens in March and when we machine harvest we start at 2.30am and finish by 8am. Average temperature at that time of the day is 6-8°C.
Ballandean Estate Wines has two vineyards located six kilometers apart. The vineyard where the winery is has light sandy soils (about 12 inches) over decomposed granite.
The second vineyard is a course orange gravel has a depth of 1m and is very porous. Water delivered by trickle from water storage dams quickly disappears but the roots have the opportunity to find good depth. Both vineyards have Viognier plantings.
In 1994 and 1995 our winemaker at the time worked during vintages in the Rhone Valley in France and came back recommending that we plant Viognier. In 1996, we were able to obtain some cuttings from Yalumba and so we were able to field graft 1ha of Viognier on Ruggeri 140 rootstocks and so commenced our journey with Viognier.
These first grafted vines are on the sandy soil and are now 10 years old. In 1998, we planted a further 2ha this time planted on their own roots and in the orange gravel. The result has been interesting. The grafted vines are not as vigorous as I thought they would be and require careful management of nutrients. This is a common trend in the Granite Belt because of our soil types. I believe having the poorer soil is an advantage because we have the opportunity to control vigour even if the costs are higher. The vines on their own roots in the deeper soil have more vigour but because of their age, we have controlled the crop levels to 4-5t/ha. This year, we have increased to 6t/ha and the results look good.
Viognier is reknowned to be a low yielding variety, however, it does not seem to have that problem in the Granite Belt. Each year so far we have taken more than 30% of the bunches off just after budburst.
The bunches are medium to large and after veraison become full and tight which can be a disadvantage if rain comes just before harvest. As the last few years the rains have not come in large volumes that we used to get in the good old days, the splitting berries have not been a problem. One habit of Viognier that I have noticed is that as the bunches tighten, small clusters break away and just dry out and drop off. Perhaps this is a way for the variety to deal with the problem of overcrowding. I allow the vines to stress a little with minimal watering for the last two or three weeks before harvest. The berries become soft and rubbery and if it does rain there is room for expansion.
Canopy management like all varieties is a major part of quality control. Viognier can become sunburnt easily and careful shoot positioning and leaf management is necessary. All of our vineyards are vertical shoot positioning system and two foliage wires on either side are used to hold up the canopy. Row spacing is 3.5m and vine spacing is 1.5m on a single cordon wire. Drip irrigation is used when required but we are limited by water availability. The Granite Belt does not have underground water and we not have a major river. We rely on water stored in farm dams.
Timing the harvest to coincide with best flavour is a bit of a trick. Constant monitoring is essential as the flavour changes almost daily and reaches its peak for about three days and then falls away quickly. It is critical to harvest within that small time frame and this peak flavour time is mostly 12.5-14°Baume.
The wine can be quite robust and yet fruity giving the impression that the wine will be sweet but the opposite is mostly the result. The wine can be quite tannic with medium acidity. Our winemaker Dylan Rhymer finds it an easy grape to work with and we are happy with the results achieved so far.
The most interesting observation so far has been that when our Viognier wines are judged in classes dedicated to just Viognier Ballandean Estate Wines has scored 4 stars or better. When judged against other fruity aromatic varieties ie Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, it does not score the same. Why is this? Maybe the variety is not recognised fully yet, we wait in hope.
We have produced both barrel aged and unwooded styles and have been successful with both styles. In the 2006 vintage we also used Viognier to blend with Shiraz. The wine is still in oak and so far we are more than pleased with the results.
We offer a toast of Granite Belt Viognier to the viticulturalist who discovered the last remaining 8ha in 1965 in France.
Viognier has risen from close extinction to an exciting variety with a great future in Australia.
Other feature articles
- Natalie Fryar, Winemaker, Jansz Tasmania
- Angelo Puglisi, Ballandean Estate, Queensland
- Dave Cleary, West Cape Howe Wines, WA
- Kim Chalmers, Chalmers Nurseries, NSW
- Tiffany Nugan, Nugan Estate, NSW
- Doug Bowen, Bowen Estate, SA
- Drew Brent-White, Windance Estate, WA
- Ian Hollick, Hollick Wines, SA
- Andrew Nugent, Bird in Hand Winery, SA
- Jim Chatto, Pepper Tree Wines, NSW
- Tony Keys, The Key Files
- Forum in pursuit of Pinot excellence
- Andrew Naylor, Pernod Ricard, NZ
- Samantha Scarratt, Fishtail Vineyards, New Zealand
- Adam Hooper and Elena Golakova, La Curio, SA
- Kathleen Quealy, T’Gallant/Balnarring Vineyard/Quealy Wine, VIC
- Richard Smart, Tamar Ridge Wines, TAS
- Terry Lee
- Ben Glover, Wither Hills, NZ
- David Fonseca Guimaraens, Fonseca and Taylor’s Port, Portugal
- Sam Temme, Lloyd Brothers, SA
- Peter May
- Colin Kay, Kay Brothers Amery, SA
- Mark Deegenaars, Sirromet Wines, QLD
- Peter Dry, University of Adelaide, SA
- Simon Thistlewood, Bimbadgen Estate, NSW
- David Lehmann, Barossa Valley, SA
- Mark Lloyd, Coriole Vineyards, McLaren Vale, SA
- Tom Harvey, Chalk Hill, SA
- Albarino – potentially Australia’s great white hope
- Ian Hendy, Tahbilk, VIC
- Oak trials instigated to create the right balance
- Jason Conti, Paul Conti Wines, WA
- Swan Valley goes organic in its approach to wine production
- 100-year-old vines saved from destruction
- Paul Boulden, Margaret River, WA
- Pinot trophy wine a close call
- Grenache finds its place in the spotlight
- Ashley Ratcliff, Yalumba Wine Company, SA
- Lessons from a fiery day in February
- Prolific Penfolds takes a double triumph
- Great win for Tatachilla Shiraz
- Ian Long, Yarraman Estate, NSW
- Capercaillie looks to future
- Tolley leaves AWBC in good shape
- Julian Parrot, Mandala Wines, NSW
- Yarra Valley’s Sticks grows up
- Rebuilding Bianchet Winery
- Kalleskes take organic grapegrowing to heart
- Vineyards benefit from WWOOF program
- Organic producer in touch with the earth
- BackVintage adopts integrated IT solution
- Lark Hill achieves full biodynamic certification
- Joseph Gilbert of Pewsey Vale – early maker of the classic Australian blend
- Sam Statham, Rosnay Wines, NSW
- Young achiever to study in USA
- Evolving Durif at Morris Wines
- Diane Miller, The Vintage Wineworx, WA
- NZ’s star producer guided by the cosmos
- On the rise: Pinot Gris secures its place
- Killeen wins Winetitles’ scholarship
- Rebecca Wilson, Tamar Valley, TAS
- Liz Riley, Vitibit, Hunter Valley
- The Gilberts of Pewsey Vale: the next generation
- Mark Cairns, Riverside Wines, Hawke’s Bay
- Craigow wins Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year
- Cornwall’s Camel Valley sets Sparkling pace in the UK
- Fred Peacock, Bream Creek Vineyard, Tasmania
- Arneis a winner, no matter how you say it
- WA’s Vanya Cullen named ‘woman of the year’
- McWilliams Mount Pleasant Estate award-winning cellar door
- Planning eases heatwave burden for Mount Horrocks
- Supplier of the Year proves customer service goes a long way
- Meet Ken Murchison
- The journey of Tempranillo to Australia
- Successful events have wineries bursting into song
- Jim Barry Wines winemaker chooses biodynamic option
- Meet Belinda Gould
- Hard grind is paying off for Sangiovese
- Biodynamic viticulture benefits Nazaraay Estate Winery
- Monitoring the key to reducing water use
- Consistently improving the quality and reputation of Australian Cabernet
- Making sure vines are true to type
- Lessons from the drought
- A story of Cuban cigars and a good nose
- A Murray Valley winery has released one of Australia’s first 100% carbon-neutral wines
- John Casella: The brains behind the brand
- Quality Tasmanian Pinot Noir stems from varying degrees of stalk removal
- Young leader forecasts positive future for Australian viticulture businesses
- China’s light shines on Aussie export radar
- Driving the blue bus of industry exposure
- Noble wine proves sweet for Australian wine industry
- Solar energy schemes lack uniformity in Australia
- Solutions for the wine industry’s fiddlier labelling jobs
- Carbon neutrality: The new black
- An understanding of excellence: James Irvine and his life in wine
- Can Australia overcome a harsh reality in the US
- Cape Mentelle treats itself to first place
- Aussies export their expert advice to China
- Bruce Tyrell: the Don Quixote of Semillon
- Why the past could help unlock grape’s future
- Brazil opportunities beckon
- Cool wine regions to benefit from research on new pathogen
- Wineries embrace sensory analysis
- Author reveals first steps to marketing magic
- China - emerging market or competitor?
- Young Vine Decline is studied closely in NSW
- Is the Shiraz berry the biggest loser?
- Small players the big winners for tomorrow’s vineyard
- Save money and wine by choosing the right bentonite
- Significant variations in an Iconic Coonawarra vineyard lead to radical solutions
- Sustainable pest control – now and in a changing climate
- Is there value in adding tannin to wine?
- How do country of origin, closure type and label style affect purchase decisions?
- City sellers
- Selective science – from the vineyard to the winery
- Change agenda includes new thinking
- WineCloud provides future direction for winemakers
- The iron(III) tartrate photochemistry of wine: impacts of bottle colour and weight
- How important are wine medals and how much can we rely on those who assign them?
- Big rewards in fine detail
- Italian inspiration for novel Nero d’Avola making
- Oak deserves its fine environmental credentials
- Machinery maintenance is key to vintage success
- Wine: does vine age really matter?
- SA wineries make a positive and lasting impression
- Magazine pages bring history to life for Rutherglen grower
- Coles tells small wineries to ‘work with us’
- Distinguished vineyard sites are essential for quality fruit production says Petaluma
- From vine to bottle: sustainability a core value for Barossa winery
- Adapt and innovate in a challenging wine business world
- Verduzzo - a 'crazy' white
- Australia’s grapevine germplasm collections under threat
- Expo offers suppliers a chance to shine
- Wineries celebrate end of vintage
- Artisan by name and nature
- Barossa symposium delivers tips for Shiraz vineyard management
- Research to reveal best irrigation practice in dry winters
- Lake’s Folly proves its credentials over 50 years
- New research sheds light on flavour additives in wine
- It’s a three-ringed circus
- Trying to paint the world red
- Where do little winemakers come from?
- A chip off the old block
- The rise and rise of Gatt Wines
- Bizot and Croser – a marriage made in the vineyard
- Wine’s wild man rides into town
- Jeff Bond – a licence to thrill
- The Visionary – who’s laughing now
- Chilling out in Australian wine’s own Ice Age
- Quarter of our wines face Chinese ban
- Four-year research project investigates early influence of oxygen
- Australian winemakers’ views towards oak barrel alternatives matures
- Ready…set…tweet! How you can bank your social media benefits
- Wine show season: It seems not all wine shows would earn a gold medal
- January 2015 Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine out now
- Smart & Sustainable: Jana Shepherd
- Lazy bones: Jo Perry’s ironic nickname
- Can’t sit still: Bleasdale’s energiser bunny
- Meet New Zealand’s best young viti
- Suzie Muntz
- Clare Burder: Ideas are nothing without action
- Steve Baraglia: A tale of two valleys