It’s 6:30am Sunday morning, hubby draws back the curtains to reveal a sunny autumn morning with just the hint of a breeze. With a twinkle in his eye he says “Happy Three Brian’s Day”. Such is the excitement to pick our own little patch of the Barossa we leap out of bed, grab our snips and stroll the few meters from the back door to the old gnarled Grenache vines in our “backyard”.
Every year this day is one of celebration. Vintage is a hectic time, running from one job to the next, crushing, pumping, chilling, pressing (repeat, repeat, repeat) sometimes you get to the end of the day and realise you forgot to eat. Three Brian’s day is different; this is the one day where we slow things down a little. Friends join us from town and there is constant chatter mixed with rhythmic thuds as another bunch of grapes hit the bottom of the bucket. Kids roam freely through the rows helping pick or just enjoying the morning sun and connecting with nature. We take time to sit and appreciate Grandma Caz’s baked goods at morning tea before heading back out to finish our morning toil.
As the last of the grapes are harvested from the 115 year old Grenache vines the de-stemmer is fired up and the final picking buckets are marched to the winery. The next step in the winemaking process is underway removing the stem from the bunch leaving the beautiful purple grapes behind to be tipped into the fermenter. Some of the large, plump whole bunches are kept in tack to provide tannin structure and complexity to the finished wine. With our morning’s work completed we set up a table on the lawn under the ancient pepper tree and sit down to feast. We tuck into our roast lunch, enjoy a glass of Izway Three Brian’s and continue our conversations from the vineyard.
Thanks to the 2016 picking crew: Ty, Ollie & Bailey Leech. Scott, Kylee, Jett and Harlow Noble. Brad & Ella Rumbelow. Plus the Izway team – Kathryn, Craig & Oscar Isbel and Brian Conway. Thanks to Caz and Brian Isbel for cooking lunch and morning tea.
Photo credit to 9 year old Ollie Leech.