This project enables the AWRI, together with its joint venture partner the University of Adelaide, to offer a specialist small-lot winemaking service with a primary target market of the research community and a secondary focus on commercial clients. The service provides research organisations with the ability to outsource all their winemaking needs both during and outside vintage.
WIC Winemaking Services processed 451 (6-150 kg) batches of wine during the 2019 vintage, 56% white wines, 44% red wines. Frozen juice and must will be used for a further 10-12 ferments and 63-72 agrochemical studies in the second half of calendar year 2019. The 2019 vintage began slowly with the first fruit arriving in early February; however, excessive heat in late February saw sugar accumulation spike in the first week of March resulting in a frenzy of harvest decisions. On 6 March 2019, WIC Winemaking Services received 37% of its annual fruit intake in one day. Baumé readings were extremely high and pH and titratable acidity levels were also high, making it difficult to achieve desired compositional targets in some cases.
Fruit from all regions was affected by the heat; however, producers that did not rush into harvest and applied irrigation water and waited for the vines to begin functioning again benefited from that decision. Grapes picked in late March and early April showed greater balance sensorially and had better compositional parameters to work with. The last press was on 28 April, two days earlier than 2018. Grapes were sourced from all South Australian regions.
This year WIC Winemaking Services expanded its services to include a capability to produce bottle-fermented sparkling wine. A total of 480 bottles of Chardonnay, 16 bottles each of 30 different trial parameters, are currently undergoing secondary fermentation in bottle. Cross flow filtration technology is being upgraded and is providing filtration solutions for a wide range of substrates with minimal losses, crucial to small-batch winemaking.