Q&A with Rosily
Thanks for talking to us Mick Scott, congratulations on your latest awards! How are you feeling?
We are pretty happy with those. The 2016 SSB (won Gold at Perth Royal Show and a Gold and Trophy at the Winewise Small Vigneron Awards.). We were also pretty pleased that Huon Hooke gave the 2015 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (93/100).
How was winter? Cold and rainy?
Very wet, about 100m above average. We haven’t had a winter that wet for about 10 years.
What type of pruning do you abide by and why?
We use mainly cane pruning. The main reason for using cane pruning is that you get an even distribution of fruit in canopy and so it is easy to control how much light goes onto fruit. And we find that cane pruning is better for long term health of vine. It freshens the vine up as you are cutting off the old wood.
What are your hopes for spring?
We have a danger period now as we have small 2 inch shoots which are soft at the moment and with the strong southerly winds and the rain, there is a risk it could damage the shoots. So we’re hoping for a mild spring with low winds.
Rosily has been organically run now for 5 years and will be certified organic next April, how do you differentiate yourselves from other vineyards?
There aren’t many that are certified in Margaret River and so being certified organic is not just unique but means we have had to abide by certain principles which has led to losing crop at times. It takes time and is not as easy as some people might think.
To follow organic practices, we have cut out herbicides and pesticides, synthetic fertilisers and we are also looking after the microbial health of the soil.
This is the way a plant works with nature; the vine root, it’s down to biology and chemistry really. For example if you use synthetic fertilisers, you will kill the microbes so you need to add more nutrients to counter balance this. The healthier option is to think about the biology of the vineyard. So the root of the vine is tied to the fungi and the fungi extracts the nutrients out of the soil. So we want to ensure the soil is full of fungi (which is killed by herbicides) and we do this by adding organic fertilisers (comprised of chicken poo, volcanic rock dust and use a bit of bat poo and seaweed) and looking at the nutrients and encouraging the microbial growth to encourage a healthy ecological system in the vineyard. We also spray the canopy of the vine with seaweed (we do this in spring and through to summer) the growth period which helps to top up the nutrients in the vine.
A conventional system would ensure there are no weeds under the vines to ensure there is no competition to the vine. So what we do is mow the grass under the vine and between the vines (we don’t kill the weeds or plants) to maintain their growth. The cut grass stays on the ground by the vines so provides extra organic matter for the soil.
What are you working on in the vineyard over spring?
We are spreading a lot of compost and finishing off weevil wraps to prevent weevils climbing and killing the vines. Stripping the bark off and wrapping a dish cloth around the vines last year discouraged them to climb up and harm the vines. These bugs can do a lot of damage are very hard to kill! You find there are more in dry conditions so because it hasn’t been as dry, we hope there are less!
I will also be working in the winery taking the 2015 reds out of barrels and getting them ready to go into bottle as well as doing some blending trials. And on top of that I’m focused on the Chardonnay, it’s coming out of barrel in November and I’m bottling in December. We are sold out of 2015 Chardonnay so it will be good to have 2016 Chardonnay in bottle.
What oak do you use?
The oak for the barrels is all French oak. We mainly use Burgundy shaped barrels and we use a number of different coopers and they are all 228L size barriques. The age of the barrels depends. On average, the reds use a mix of 30% brand new barrels and up to four year old barrels. For Chardonnays, the barrels are 50% brand new and 50% one year old. And for the SSB 2016, we use brand new barrels.
How many hectares are under vines?
We have 12.5 hectares making up to 6000 cases of wine (of 12) a year. We don’t buy fruit in and everything is handpicked, grown here and bottled on site.
We are a small family run operation with me doing the wine making, my cousin Ben involved in sales and the rest of the team have been here since we set up.
Thanks for your time Mick!