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In the heart of the picturesque Denman region, nestled approximately 3.8 kilometres northeast of Denman and 24 kilometres west of Muswellbrook along Denman Road, lies the renowned Merton Vineyard. Owned by Malabar, this vineyard is a haven for high-quality Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Verdelho varieties that have been supplying local winemakers with exceptional produce for many years. The 2024 harvest has delivered exceptionally high-quality fruit with 85% of the harvested fruit earmarked for commercial wine production.

Today was an opportunity for some of the Malabar team members to participate in the annual grape stomping event at Small Forest Wines, where “stompers” gathered around tubs capable of holding up to 500 litres and started the winemaking process by crushing the freshly harvested grapes and releasing their juices into the awaiting tubs.

From the stomping to the eventual completion into the bottle, the journey of these grapes is estimated to take approximately 18 months. The freshly extracted juice will find its way into the tank, where the magic of fermentation will begin for approx. 10 days after which the liquid will be transferred into barrels to undergo maturation lasting approximately 10 to 12 months. The leftover skins, a by-product of the stomping process, undergo pressing before they are also added to the tanks, infusing the wine with rich flavours and nuanced textures.

We look forward to tasting the fabulous Small Forest 2024 Shiraz in years to come!