What's to come with Winemaker Ryan

It's been a manic six months or so for Ryan Aggis, our winemaker, but he's as positive as always. 'How could you not be?' he asks. 'We've got one of the best vineyards in the state down here and I don't have to worry about anything except making wine. I wouldn't want to be in any other situation.'

At this precise moment, that situation involves standing in his lounge room looking after one of his baby girls and from where he stands, he can see Aravina's plantings of chardonnay and chenin blanc stretching out towards Geographe Bay, while everything at the winery, he assures us, is heading in the right direction. 'It's a good feeling,' he says, 'and we're about to bottle some cracking booze in the coming weeks.'

It's that time of year when the team walks into the vineyard and there's a whole list of things that need to be done. And with everything that's been happening both in Australia and across the globe, there have been plenty more challenges in 2020 than they'd usually expect. 'Vineyards and winemaking don't stop,' says Ryan. 'It's hard to get labour and anything transnational, like dry goods and material, have been tough to get delivered. It's been a bit of a juggling act but we're getting there, we just have to stay organised and on top of the game.'

Now that Western Australia has – fingers crossed – been spared the worst of the pandemic, we've started welcoming people back to the winery and there's a great atmosphere around the estate. But even without the excitement that comes with reopening to guests, there are plenty of new wines to look forward to.

'We've got a new vintage of the blanc de blancs that's being riddled, disgorged and labelled, so that's not far off,' says Ryan. 'It's 100% chardonnay from the property and though Margaret River isn't a sparkling region, we make a great textured style with some precision to the acid as well as a lot of richness and voluptuousness. It has plenty of green apple character and that brioche and nougat vibe, and it's looking good right now. We only make a small amount, so it generally sells out quite quickly and the locals love dropping in for a glass.'

There's also a new malbec on the way, which is the second malbec release from the property, as well as a new vintage of rich, tannic merlot for the first time since 2013. 'There are probably about 60 cases of malbec,' says Ryan, 'and it's the kind of wine we want to offer our wine club members. It's a really cool wine and last year's vintage sold out in about three weeks. I'm really excited about our Bordeaux blend too, which is a super premium wine and something that Aravina will really be able to hang its hat on. It's a traditional Bordeaux blend with the five varieties kicking around, most of which were grown on the property, though I sourced a little cabernet franc and petit viognier from a nearby vineyard.'

Plenty to be excited about, then. And despite the slight hiccup of a global pandemic, the wheels are lurching back into motion and things have really ramped up here at Aravina. As Ryan says, 'there's a good feeling, a good heartbeat kicking around the estate again,' and we can't wait for you to feel it for yourself, whether that's at the estate itself or by drinking our wines at home.

October 22, 2020 — Hayley Munro-Tobin