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Story: At the end of each Australian summer, Pat Carmody becomes very alert. A sheep farmer and winemaker at Craiglee Vineyard, his work never really stops, but at this time of year he must be particularly vigilant. He checks his crop continuously, testing sugar levels, anticipating exactly the right moment – a moment that changes based on climate and unpredictable weather conditions ­to commence picking grapes for that year’s vintage.

Once this moment is reached, it’s all systems go. The grapes are hand­picked, put through a press and given time to macerate (hang out in their skins and seeds with occasional punching down) before the fermentation and oaking processes begin. It goes without saying, being able to observe first hand such a pivotal and transformative process, to see the time, skill, labour and love that go into producing such a craft, gives you an unparalleled understanding and deeper appreciation for the products we consume.

Perched on a steep hill overlooking the small vineyard, Craiglee was built in 1863, and is one of the oldest wineries in Australia. Over 150 years after its construction, it still provides the most reliable and stable conditions for cellaring wines, and is where the bottles of each new vintage will be stowed until they are ready to be released and enjoyed. While that last essential ingredient ­time is left to work its magic, Pat will return to the paddock to begin the cycle yet again.

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@jillhaapaniemi

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