2014 Vintage

Vintage 2014!

2014 Vintage

Hi all,

Well we’re all delighted that another quirky, difficult but ultimately rewarding vintage has finished … at least the harvesting side of it!

After a wet winter, very dry Spring and a couple of mini heat waves in January and February, we started harvesting in early march and finished a week ago. Like many areas, we lost some fruit to a heavy frost in some of the lower parts of the vineyard and then two heatwaves knocked out another 10% or so … more in some varieties than others. The tiny berries were literally ‘curranted’ (don’t think this is a real word but it will do) within a week by the extreme heat. To finish we had 100mm of rain over ten days which, although welcome at any time these days, did mean we left some Merlot and Malbec on the vines.

Over the coming months we’re ripping out 2.5ha of Sauvignon blanc as we’re tired of trying to compete against the dreaded ‘savalanche’ from across the ditch. We know our wine (and many other aussie savvys) are just as good, if not better but we’re sick of acting like King Canute in trying to stop the tide! We intend to leave the land fallow for 12 months and then replant with multi-clone blocks of Chardonnay and Pinot noir on rootstock. This will then mean around 50% of our 28ha is planted on phylloxera resistant rootstock.

I’m looking forward to our wine and cheese masterclass tomorrow night (a couple of spaces left!) with Locheilan Farmhouse Cheese and the wine dinners next week in Sydney and Brisbane – there are still seats for these and we also have a dinner coming up on 21st May at Vivace in Brighton.

And if you’re running short of wine you still have until the end of the month to take advantage of our Easter Garage Sale. Sauv blanc 2010 is finished but we’ll substitute the 2011 instead, and the Riesling halves and old label reds have sold well also.

Yours in wine,


New partners …

Delatite StockistsWe are delighted to announce the news that as of April 1st Delatite Wines is represented by Bacchus Wine Merchant in Victoria, NSW, and QLD and by George Street Wines in SA and NT.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Steel Family and the team at DWS for having worked with us since 1993 in building our brand across Australia.

We look forward to continuing to support all the on and off premise accounts that have supported Delatite in the past and also to building new relationships in the future!

Visit our Wholesale and Restaurant Stockist page for contact details for our new partners.


Final quarter event photos

Autumn Events

Vocal Consort Choir Performance

S U N D A Y   3 0 t h   M A R C H Delatite Cellar Door, 26 High St, Mansfield $18 per person, includes concert, light lunch and a glass of wine 12 noon – 2:00pm Vocal Consort are the tenor and bass accompaniments to the Australian Boys Choir. “Ranging from plainchant and sixteenth century polyphony to comic pieces, jazz and pop, the group’s repertoire is wide and varied. Audiences may ride on a journey of emotions from hysterical laughter through to intimate reflection and everywhere between.” A New York Times critic wrote: “The Vocal Consort sang superbly… a rich, seamless blend.” The ensemble continues to earn superlatives from critics and audiences alike. Bookings are preferred, contact us on info@delatitewinery.com.au or 03 5775 2922 for more info

‘The Perfect Pair’ Wine & Cheese Masterclass

F R I D A Y 2 5 t h M A R C H Delatite Cellar Door, 26 High St, Mansfield $17 per person 6:00pm – 7:30pm Indulge in a showcase of artisan cheeses and award winning cool-climate wines, carefully selected by David Ritchie owner of Delatite Winery and Bruce McGorlick owner of Locheilan Farmhouse Cheese. The night is a great opportunity to chat to 2 iconic, award-winning, North East Victorian producers, plus, there will be specials on any purchases made on the night. Bookings are preferred, contact us on info@delatitewinery.com.au or 03 5775 2922 for more info.

Grape-to-Table Tour,

Barrel Tasting & Lunch S A T U R D A Y   1 7 t h   M A Y Delatite Vineyard, Cnr Stoney & Pollard, Mansfield, Vic $55 per person 11:00am – 3:30pm Join us for an unforgettable foodie experience as Mansfield’s most iconic winery throws open it’s doors for a not-to-be missed behind the scenes vineyard tour, hosted by David Ritchie. The day will begin with a leisurely vineyard tour and an insight into the life of winemaker, Andy Browning, followed by an exclusive tasting … straight from the barrel! After all the hard work tasting and touring, guests will be treated to a delicious 2 course lunch prepared by celebrated local chef, Megan Knapp of Pure Taste Catering. Lunch will feature a bounty of local produce and, of course, Delatite wines. Book now as spaces are limited.

Final quarter event photos

Meeting of The Tribes – 2nd and 3rd November

andy bike outside 2Delatite Wines is delighted to be part of this great inaugural event in the High Country. Unfortunately although I do own a bike and used to ride to work sometimes (many years ago) it’s been a while since I pulled on my padded shorts ( no Lycra for me!) so I won’t be peddling in 2013. But to enter into the spirit we’ll have a wine sale all weekend and wine tastings up on Mt Buller……so come on up and be a part of it!

The Meeting of the Tribes is a cycling event for anyone on two wheels without a motor. It doesn’t matter if you are a mountain biker, elite rider, cafe racer, MAMIL (Middle Aged Man In Lycra) or inner city hipster fixie rider. The Meeting of the Tribes is designed to bring all the riding tribes together for a weekend of cycling fun. The Meeting of the Tribes is part of Cycle Salute includes the following activities:

Sunset Mountain Challenge. 16.5 km of pure climbing open to anyone on two wheels. Divisions include road bikes, mountain bikes, vintage, fixies, clubs, corporate teams, vets, masters, grand masters, and mixed teams. The uphill kicks off at 5pm on November 2.

Welcome Dinner and award ceremony.

Delatite Winery Cycling Film Festival. Mt Buller Cinema 8.30pm November 2 and 8.30 Sun 3rd. Celebrating all forms of riding, this film fest will include multiple short films and 2 longer feature films following a container load of recycled bikes from Melbourne to Africa and the infamous Mongolian Mountain Bike race.

Sunday Social Rides: The road riders and mountain bikers will split up for their rides, but we will all meet up for a long lunch.

Multi-day tour: Tick off two more of the seven peaks with a 4 day tour of the high country. This five star, all inclusive tour heads to LakeMountain and Mt Baw Baw (Australia’s toughest climb) on days 3 and 4. Australia’s best cycling in comfort and style.

More activities to be announced…….Check out www.pelotontours.com.au or follow on Twitter: Meetingofthetribes (@Meetingtribes)


Final quarter event photos

Australian Wine Companion 2014

Delatite's 90+ point wines as rated in the 2014 Australian Wine Companion
Delatite’s 90+ point wines as rated in the 2014 Australian Wine Companion

James Halliday’s 2014 Australian Wine Companion has just been released and I’m delighted to say that Delatite again been recognised as a Red Five Star winery (so one of the Top 100 in Australia) with 4 wines at 94 + points and another 3 at 90 points.

So most of our current wines are rated 90 points and above which is a very good effort. I believe that the main reasons for our continued success is a result of being blessed with old vines, a great climate,  following Biodynamic principles, as well as the great slightly edgy winemaking talents of Andy in the winery (exemplified by our embrace of ‘wild’  yeast ferments and limited maturation in larger older oak for all our aromatics).

As we begin to ramp up our Reserve program from 2013 vintage onwards I have no doubt that the wines will continue to improve, especially the Pinot noir and Chardonnay which were slightly ‘forgotten’ varieties and wine styles in earlier times at Delatite.

Unfortunately some our newer red wines (ie 09 Shiraz and 09 Devil’s River) weren’t bottled in time to be sent for review but I have no doubt they would have done at least as well, if not better, than their predecessors.

If you’re passing by Mansfield drop in and see us and taste some, or even all, of these wines. Over winter we have delicious home made apple strudel and mugs of gluhwein ready and waiting – paying homage to our alpine environment!

Our top-rated wines were the 2012 Gewurztraminer Dead Mans’ Hill (96 points) and the 2012 Riesling, 2012 Riesling Late Harvest, and the 2010 Shiraz RJ Reserve (all 94 points).

Mansfield Wedding Location

Biodynamics June 2013

BD June 2013 #1Well it’s that time of year again when we put out 500 across the whole vineyard, as well as putting out organic fertilisers and maybe even some mulch. The photos are of Matt and Carolyn waiting for the flowform to do it’s work (one hour of stirring) and also carolyn just doing final checks on what my dad would’ve described as our BD hirdy girdy!

The 500 goes out in the afternoons and we’ll have completed the 28ha vineyard by this afternoon. Next week we’ll be putting out 501 – a silica based preparation.BD June 2013#2

Final quarter event photos

Delatite Discovery Tasting June 7th

Pinot tasting April 13 

Delatite Discovery Tasting. Come and join Andy and I on Friday 7th June at 6pm for our monthly (mostly!) tasting. This time it’s Shiraz and it’ll be a ripper with 9 Shiraz’s from both here and abroad. A glass of Polly sparkling Gewurz to begin and then off we go.  Maximum of 14 people so bookings essential; club@delatitewinery.com.au or call on 03 57752922. $10 per head includes some delicious vintner’s plates to go with the vino….and special wine prices on the night.

Final quarter event photos

Delatite at Corrie ‘s My Bookshop – May 22nd

unfortunately we’ve had to postpone this event for a couple of months – my apologies.    Come along and join me (David) to taste some of Delatite’s new releases at Catherine and my favourite bookshop; Corrie Perkin’s My Bookshop. I’ll be discussing what we’re doing, what lies behind our move to biodynamics and  natural yeastsand open for any questions at all!  All six of our Reserve wines will be on show plus one or two others.  The address is 513 Malvern Road, Hawksburn 3142, time is 6 for 6.30 sharp, and bookings are essential;  events@mybookshop.net.au or call on 039824 2990. 15% of all sales on the night to be donated to the Melbourne Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.




Final quarter event photos

Winemaker’s Discovery Tasting April

Three Pinots Three Pinots[/caption]

After the huge success of our March Riesling tasting in April we’re looking at Pinot noir – 5.30pm at our Cellar Door on Friday 26th at 5.30pm.

Pinotphiles regard the search for the perfect Pinot as akin to searching for the Holy Grail…whilst others (less enamoured) liken it more to the Monty Python team’s search!

Come and join Andy and I as we swirl, sniff, and slurp our way through 7 or 8 Pinots from all around the place and you too can be the judge as to Pinot’s place in the world of wine .

Pinot, Platters, and no BS for only $10 head. Bookings essential as numbers are limited.

Final quarter event photos

Upcoming Events

A magical evening of music, food and wine!

As a proud sponsor Delatite Winery is hosting a performance of one of the winning string quartets at our Winery on July 24th, from 6.00 – 9.00 pm.

Performed by a finalist quartet from the 7th Melbourne International Chamber Music 2015 Competition.

Commencing with a warming dinner matched with one of our Estate wines.
The recital will include two performances of 45 minutes each from 7.00 – 9.00 pm. Wine and dessert will be served during the interval.


(Early bird ticket $50 per person, BOOK by July 10!)

To book call our cellar door on 03 5775 2922 or visit:

Delatite is Australia’s oldest High Country winery, situated on rolling hills at the base of Mt Buller, with the first vines being planted in 1968 by David’s parents. Since developing into a well-renowned, award winning boutique winery, the Delatite team are focused on their commitment to producing outstanding wines by biodynamic principles.

29 JULY- Deer Duck Bistro Wine Dinner – Brisbane
25 AUGUST –  Huxtable Restaurant Wine Dinner
5 SEPTEMBER – Vic 100 Wine Awards, The Atrium, Fed Square, Melbourne
OCTOBER – Join us at the Winery in late October for the opening of our Labyrinth!
17 OCTOBER – Flinders Quartet concert, at the Winery

Final quarter event photos

Winemaker’s Discovery Tasting

rieslings webRiesling…..the king of whites. This Friday 22nd March come along to the Cellar Door (from 5.30pm) and join Andy and David in tasting at least 6 Rieslings from all around with some light snacks to go with them.

A couple from Delatite plus wines from the Clare, Tasmania, Mosel in Germany, and Alsace in France.
Places are limited so bookings advisable and cost is $10 per head.

Final quarter event photos

Vintage 2013 #1

Matt (driving) and Mark in the Pinot grisNatalie tipping bunches into Press

At last I’m getting the hang of our new website and working my fingers to the bone on the keyboard for the first news of the 2013 vintage.

Well, the waiting is now over and vintage began this week with a bang. So many varieties are ready at the same time – not like the usual 4-8 weeks from first (Chardonnay) to last (Cabernet)!
It’s been a tough old growing season with the lowest ever rainfall recorded between 1st September and 1st February…..along with the highest maximum temperatures through the first 6 weeks of the year. However, despite all that, the vines have come through it pretty well and, given we hand harvest, any grapes that haven’t simply won’t be picked. And although there have been fires and smoke along much of the Great Divide (from the Grampians in the west to Mt Hotham in the north east) we have, thankfully, been spared….this year at any rate.
I was thinking only this morning what the great satirist/song smith/comedian/mathematician Tom Lehrer (my dad loved him and my first memories of any ‘song’ is Werner von Braun) would make of climate change and the Sceptic putsch given his views on pollution, race relations and nuclear proliferation (amongst many others)!
It finally rained in the last 10 days of February with 50mm on the 21st and then a further 70mm a week later……a very welcome relief.

Given the very hot year Andy and I have decided not to make any sparkling base wines from 2013: the upside of this is that we’re again going to make a small amount of Rose from the Pinot noir…..for our Club and mailing list members and patrons of the Cellar Door.
Yesterday we finished harvesting the Chardonnay, today we’re into the winery Pinot gris block, and then tomorrow some Pinot for the Rose.

The photos are of the winery block Pinot gris being picked and the last of the Chardonnay being loaded into the press by Natalie – bypassing the crusher/de-stemmer. This is something we’ve done for the last few years and it leads to ‘purer’ juice as there’s very little skin contact. This is especially important with Pinot gris and Gewürztraminer as, due to their purple and pink skins (respectively), they are prone to ‘pinking’. The best antidote for which is to use various fining/decolouring agents – not part of what I’d term natural winemaking and not an option we go for at Delatite!

We have a great vintage team of vini-roos; Natalie (California, but hails from Kansas), Salvatore (Sicily, but born in Belgium), and Pascal (son and nephew of some great German friends of ours). They’ve been very busy for the last few weeks; cleaning equipment plus oak puncheons for whites, bottling the last of the 2012 aromatics to make room for the new vintage, sampling the grapes, and doing some last summer training of the 8ha vineyard we planted over the last two years. Unfortunately none of them understand the finer (or even broader) points of either cricket or aussie rules…..but they’re pretty handy in the winery and vineyard and have come to us because of our minimalist approach.

In terms of the whites the Chardonnay, Pinot gris and Riesling are all looking outstanding and the gewurz has, amazingly, retained relatively good acidity despite the number of warm nights recently. For reds it’s looking very good for them all, especially the Pinot noir and Shiraz – though the latter still has a way to go. And Andy, now into his fifth vintage here, has even been heard to say that the Malbec could be “quite good” this year (though not to me)!

Final quarter event photos

Pop Up Cafe, live music and sangria

Well, we had the first of our post summer holiday live gigs on Saturday night with Howard, Paul and Maria – the high country’s younger, more attractive, and improved version of Peter, Paul and Mary! The next music nights are on Friday 8th with Ian Mallyon and his squeezebox and Saturday 9th with ‘The Two K’s’ – Rolf and Leif Koren.
The nights have been getting busier and busier and soon we’ll be at the stage of advising people to book to ensure a table or a seat!

DelatiteDave’s High Country Sangria has been a huge hit. Not too complicated as I modified a recipe that Catherine bought back with her from Spain last year; using our own home grown (and very organic) lemons/limes/oranges, local apples from Swanpool, and of course delicious delatite vino.

So if you’re about on the long weekend drop in from 6.30pm onwards for great live music plus Sangria, fine wines, Delatite Vintner’s plates, Tolmie Cider, Locheilan cheese, Strathbogie Olives, Organic dips, Veneziano coffe

Vineyard scene

Melbourne’s Spring Grazing season

Andy and I helped host a fantastic dinner last week for 40 upstairs at The Aviary as part of Melbourne’s Spring Grazing season. Fantastic lamb from Rutherglen and the whole table was edible – pictures are on our facebook page. Perfectly matched with the menu were the 2008 Polly, 2011 Pinot gris, 2010 Reserve Pinot noir, and the 2011 Riesling Late Harvest. Coming up on 18th November is the St Mary’s House of Welcome 2012 Wine Rules Touch Footy Competition at Elwood Park.

A great fundraiser on the day (if you have the time and inclination) do come down and support the Delatite Desperados as we battle with around 15 other teams from the Victorian wine industry. You can also contribute to the Desperados fundraising efforts for the homeless via the Everyday Hero fundraising page  http://www.everydayhero.com.au/david_ritchie_7