Autumn - Harvest
The Robert Stein vintage normally commences in early autumn, although some years the harvest may begin in late summer (ie. 2002, 2003). The ripening process takes approximately 4-7 weeks. When the grapes reach a suitable composition of sugar (Baumé), acid and flavour levels Winemaker Jacob makes the decision to pick. A combination of hand picking and machine harvest is employed specific to site requirements. Picking generally occurs in the cool of the morning or night to ensure optimum preservation of fruit. The furthest away vineyard is only 1,5kms away from the winery so fruit is delivered promptly and efficiently.Winter - Dormancy
During winter the vine becomes dormant. In the cold, frosty mornings of the Mudgee Valley winter (many days below 0 degrees) our vineyard team brave the weather to ensure each vine is pruned and wrapped down ready for spring. A number of buds are left untouched to ensure successful budburst.Spring - Budburst
In Spring the buds begin to burst, bringing the vineyard to life and colour. It is the perfect time for the Mudgee September Wine Celebration. From these buds burst shoots and new leaves forming the beginnings of grape flowers. As the season gains momentum and warmth, the shoots grow longer and the grape flower begins to form grape berries (a process called “berry set”). The vineyard team is busily monitoring the vines and crop thinning where necessary to maintain Robert Stein’s optimum yield levels of 3-4 tonnes per acre. Summer - Verasion
The ripening process or verasion begins- the sugar, flavour, tannin and colour development starts within the berry cells. Being a Meditteranien climate, slow-ripening varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay excel in Mudgee. Complex flavours are given time to develop throughout the cool summer mornings and warm dry days. Canopy management comes into play ensuring a balance between aeration and shade protection for the fruit. Berry size (and subsequently bunch weight) increase dramatically. The vineyard team monitor growth closely and prepare for vintage – sometimes netting the vines as the fruit ripens to ensure decreased damage from birds and other pests. It seems as though the birds just love our Cabernet!