05.10.2015 - 19.10.2015
Set in the beautiful Wet Tropics of Northern Queensland, I had an interesting stay at Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery.
Making only single fruit wines (except one) from locally grown tropical fruits, there was a whole host of new experiences and smells!
All the wine is made, bottled and labelled on site. The Cellar Door is open every day for tastings and sales.
What better view to sit and enjoy a wine or two, protected from the sun by this very unusual Jasmine vine - only two flowers in he world are this colour
The wines looked good on display
and the cellar had 5 rows like this one to pick from
A lot of my work was in preparing some of the fruits stored in several large freezers, such as de-pulping 45kg (out of over 100kg) of Passion Fruit
The pulp can then be stored in much smaller capacity than the whole fruit - and my hands smelt great!
experiencing a 'Star Apple' which was as good in colour as it was in taste
The Black Sapote, used for one of the fortified wines was something I saw through the whole process.
The Black Sapote is skinned once it is very ripe
and the pulp used for the wine.
Over 80 5litre tubs were defrosted and emptied into the vat
making quite a mess on the ceiling and walls
A LOT of sugar was then dissolved into water, and mixed in with the Black Sapote before yeast is added and stirred in.
Whether the wine is aging in tanks or barrels, tests are run periodically to check the status of the wine. Common tests include °Brix - one measure of the soluble solids and represents not only the sugars but also includes many other soluble substances such as salts, acids and tannins, pH, titratable acidity. Brix is usually measured with a refractometer while the other methods use a hydrometer.
Later, titration is used to measure the alcohol percentage
and testing for Sulphur Dioxide
After some time (depending on the fruit used), the wine is syphoned off, using a small pump and some large pipes!
leaving the sediment at the bottom, such as this Jaboticaba
originated from the fruit known as the Tree Grape
and used to make the only red table wine, which was my favourite!
Of course, there was wine tasting involved, to check for sure!
Cardboard filters are used in the piece of equipment below to filter off the last of the sediment
When the wine is clear, it is bottled off, after the bottled have been sterilised
I did this with over 600 bottles of Ginger wine
Stelvins are then pressed on
The bottles are then labelled by hand, using this simple piece of equipment.
Once sold, the bottles are placed in specially designed pwper bottle bags, and personalised with Shannonvale stickers - which all needed trimming and sticking
One day, we had some regulars turn up - the Trike Tours
The two resident dogs were good company, but even better at alerting us of customers.
Another resident was this carpet python, seeking refuge in the warmth of the shed to digest it's last meal
and there's always a Kookaburra watching
My home for the time I was there was a caravan on the property
and it was great to sleep with the door and windows open (with fly screens) listening to the sounds of the rainforest.
Just up the road from the winery is a lane called Chooks Ridge that was a good uphill walk, to see this view
and as always in Australia, an abandoned car
made more interesting with the way this branch had fallen into the window
and I had to stop and investigate this Green Ants nest ... with a very long stick!
My last day of work was at the Taste of the Tablelands in Atherton with local producing offering their goods. So we were giving wine tasting and sales.
It was a great day, with good music
and good views on the trip up
looking down to Mossman
and Cooya beach