HOPEFUL: Jester Hill Wines owners Mick and Ann Bourke.
HOPEFUL: Jester Hill Wines owners Mick and Ann Bourke.

If in drought, make a different wine

A GLEN Aplin winery isn’t letting the drought decimate their harvest season, creatively making the most of the situation they are in.

Jester Hill Wines owners Mick and Ann Bourke both agreed it was their resilience keeping their business alive.

“If you don’t have it (resilience) you have to learn it very quickly or get out of the business,” Mrs Bourke said.

The couple said it was a devastating blow to go from crushing more than 50 tonne of grapes in 2017 to crushing 8 tonne this year “if they are lucky”.

“That’s OK because we will always have something in the cellar door and something to supply to our customers,” Mrs Bourke said.

“That’s life with farming.

“Forget the vineyard. Anything we have here is a bonus.”

Mr Bourke said most farmers would agree the key to survival in the industry depends on how well you can adapt to different situations.

“My merlot wasn’t going to be the quality that we like to make so I’m making a sparkling rose instead,” Mr Bourke said.

“That means you pick it earlier and it has a higher acid level and a lower sugar level.

“We look at what we are going to be short of and find a replacement so we make more wine than we think we will need in a good year.

“It’s the one agriculture industry that I can think of where the product is worth more as it gets older.”

This season is one to be “forgotten about” according to Mr Bourke, but the pair remain hopeful for the future.

“2015 was a very dry year and then we had rain at the end of it and 2016 was our best year ever,” Mr Bourke said.

“This year is following that similar pattern.

“The vines did very little work this year, so we are hoping they come back from their holiday and work really hard for us.”

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