Eight at the Gate: Sustainable Chardonnay Harvest In Wrattonbully, So Australia #WorldWineTravel

Eight at the Gate

Harvest in the southern hemisphere is in full swing, and Jane Richards at Eight at he Gate in Southern Australia reports that all of the Pinot Gris and Chardonnay is in, and even with some big rain events, fruit was clean and quality very high.

 
The weather this year during harvest in Australia presented plenty of challenges: “Unfortunately there has been some pretty horrendous weather in some of the regions of Australia so we are feeling very grateful that our fruit and vines are looking excellent with no disease pressure.”
 
First in was the Chardonnay for their sparkling wine, and she reports, “The juice looks like it will be a very interesting wine. We combined three clones of Chardonnay which has added some real palate complexity which is looking very exciting!”
 
The Chardonnay for their still wine “is also looking very very good. We took the free run juice off for our Family Selection range and put it straight into new and seasoned French oak barrels. The remainder of the fruit received a gentle squeeze and is being fermented in tank for our Chablis style Chardonnay. We now have a bit of a lull for the next 10-14 days until we start picking the reds.”
 
 
After the whites comes the reds; we wrote about the shiraz and the shiraz/cab blend last month (here). About the Shiraz for Eight at the Gate, Jane says,  “The flavours are looking good and the colour is excellent. The berries are small and yields are where we want them so we are hoping for an excellent outcome. The weather for the next week is looking perfect so it should finish off the fruit very nicely.”
 
With March being Women’s History Month, I asked Jane about how it was working with her sister in a male dominated industry. 
 
“When it comes to working in a male dominated industry honestly we have not had too many issues. When it comes to our male clients they are all respectful and if not, we no longer work with them.
 
Further, “The female touch in the vineyard is usually seen as a positive because we tend to have an eye for detail and rarely cause them any problems due to lack of organisation.
“I think women naturally have to be very good at multitasking as we are juggling household responsibilities as well as business responsibilities. This requires good organisational skills which I think is usually appreciated by anyone we work with.”
Jane Richards is the sister who operates the business side of the operation and Clare Davies runs the cellar. 
 
“Two sisters working together is certainly a different dynamic than working with your usual work colleague,” says Jane. “I think for Claire and I it works really well though. We work quite independently, staying in our lanes mostly, and then make joint decisions on the larger more strategic issues. 
 
“Being raised the same way we have the same philosophy around how to combine family and work responsibilities.
“Our father had his own business and our mother worked in that business with him so we have been exposed to how a family business operates for all of our upbringing. The ethos being, you do what has to be done, when it has to be done, without keeping score.
 
“I think for Claire and I the skill sets that we have are very complimentary. Claire is the trained viticulturist and Winemaker so she handles all things grapes and vineyard. My background was in sales and marketing so I take over when it comes to all things Wine.
 
“At vintage time I drive a tractor and Claire tells me what to do. When it comes to product, packaging and marketing, I put the ideas forward and execute and Claire provides input.
 
“I think our roles were carved out gradually over the past 20 years and we don’t overlap too much. Neither one of us wants to be “the boss” so we allocate tasks based on our ability to do them and experience.
 
“Being two working Mum’s has meant that over the years there have been different times where a particular child needs a particular mother and if that happens the other one picks up the slack for the Mum who needs to be there for her child. Having four kids each this can happen fairly often but having the same approach to parenthood definitely helps us manage it.
 
“Family always comes first for us so having either of us being able to step into each other’s shoes, to a certain extent, is extremely valuable. 
 

Eight at the Gate white wines

Menu

According Jane, Australian cuisine is very diverse with Asian cuisine influential. However, “Fresh fish and oysters are exactly what I would pair with our Chardonnays,” she says. “Oysters are one of my favourite dishes with it. I do make an oyster dressing which is absolutely delicious.”
  • Shrimp on the barbie!
  • Oysters 
  • Fish and Chips 
  • Mushy Peas
  • Sushi

Wines

In the spirit of reconciliation, Eight at the Gate  acknowledges the First Nations people of the region, the Bindjali people who are the traditional custodians of the land, and their spiritual relationship with this country. So states Eight at the Gate  prominently on their website setting a tone for respect for people and place.

“Eight at the Gate” is located in Wrattonbully located in the southern part of the South Australia growing area in a region known as the “Limestone Coast” between Coonawarra and Padthaway. Eight at the Gate refers to the tradition of eight cousins who would gather at the gate or sit on a fence somewhere together. These days, the children are almost all grown up and are involved in the family business in one way or the other; read more here. 

eight at the gate chardonnay

NOTE: Our typical and extensive tasting notes evaporated. If I can recover them, I will update.
 
“Our vineyards are quite unique in the fact that they are not surrounded by rows and rows of other vineyards creating a monoculture which is an easy target for disease,” Jane says. “We have a very bio diverse environment which really helps with our management of the vineyard.” Read more here.
 

eight at the gate

World Wine Travel Group Posts About the White Wines of South Australia 

Find the invitation post here from host Lynn Gowdy of Savor The Harvest where you’ll learn the background for this region including grapes, climate, sustainability, and more.

Crushed Grape Chronicles (Robin) discusses “Jim Barry Wines – 3 Generations making Clare Valley Riesling”

A Day In The Life On The Farm (Wendy) pairs “South Australian Chardonnay with Pesto Bruschetta Chicken”

Culinary Adventures with Camilla (Camilla) shares “Asparagus-Leek Velouté + Naturalis Sauvignon Blanc 2020”

Enofylz Wine Blog (Martin) digs into “Pewsey Vale – Eden Valley’s Original Riesling Monopole”

AdVINEtures (Chris & Allison) is exploring “South Australia Riesling”

My Full Wine Glass (Linda) discusses “Eden Valley Dry Riesling? Cool!”

Wine Predator ….. Gwendolyn Alley shares “Eight at the Gate: Sustainable Chardonnay In Wrattonbully, South Australia”

Savor the Harvest (Lynn) discusses “Paxton Wines – Biodynamic Pioneer in South Australia”

Food Wine Click! (Jeff) shares Eden Valley Shines Among South Australia Whites

Our Good Life (Terri) tells us about Tait Family Wines and a Family Tradition Meal

You’re invited to our 8am Pacific Twitter chat! Just check out the #WorldWineTravel hashtag; these are the prompts. 

11:00 Q1 Welcome to the World Wine Travel chat on white wines from South Australia! Introduce yourself, share a selfie, and tell us where you’re chatting from (blog links welcome if you have one.) Remember to use hashtag #WorldWineTravel
11:07 Q2 It’s said white wines play a supporting role in South Australia. Were you familiar with their white wines? Have you had one before? #WorldWineTravel
11:14 Q3 In fact, South Australia is more known for reds yet plenty of head turning whites are made including Riesling from Clare and Eden Valleys. What white wine variety(s) did you taste? From what region? #WorldWineTravel
11:21 Q4 Tell us what producer you featured this month and why. Share the link to your blog post! #WorldWineTravel
11:28 Q5 If you had a 100% variety wine, did you observe differences between it and the same variety grown in your home country or another country where it is grown? #WorldWineTravel
11:35 Q6 Did you research traditional Australian dishes? Regardless, if you paired your #SouthAustralia wine with a dish please share! Include a photo, and link to the recipe if applicable. #WorldWineTravel
11:42 Q7 Share something you learned about South Australia / South Australian white wines. #WorldWineTravel
11:49 Q8 Have you visited #SouthAustralia? If so, share a travel tidbit and any highlights from your trip. Photos welcome! #WorldWineTravel
11:54 Q9 Shoutout to #WorldWineTravel bloggers who participated today: @allison_wallace @CrushGrapeChron @WendyKlik @martindredmond @linda_lbwcsw @culinary_cam @savortheharvest @ArtPredator @wineivore @foodwineclick @tsteffes #WorldWineTravel
11:55 Q10 Any last comments / questions? Share your thoughts, ideas and anything else about South Australia and its white wines! #WorldWineTravel
12 noon Thank you for joining us at #WorldWineTravel today! Find links to our published articles here: INSERT YOUR BLOG LINK See you next month when Jeff at @foodwineclick leads our discussion on Victoria Red Wines

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