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Payten & Jones 2024 Vintage Update

ABS Wine Agencies, Fri 01 Mar 2024

Payten & Jones 2024 Vintage Update

2024 Vintage Update from Payten & Jones


Here. We. Go. Again.

What was touted by the experts to be a long, hot and dry summer has in fact been… the opposite. 

*insert “pretends to be shocked” meme here

It’s been mild, with cool nights, rain when it was needed and at this stage, maybe one of the best vintages since ‘92… That’s according to Pete who, after 45 years in the game and ever the optimist, still persists in the hope of that perfect vintage… Yeah, good luck with that.

This year is however shaping up to be a cracker and (so far) should translate into some of the best wines we’ve made EVER (No pressure).

Over the last two weeks, we checked in on the vineyards to get a feel for where the fruit is at.  We’re looking at ripeness, flavours and general vine health. This also helps our own mental health by getting our head in the game for what is about to come.


First stop, Sangiovese over in Seville to get some bunch counts – this allows us to work out how much fruit we can expect to get off the vineyard. This year it’s looking like we’ll get a nice average yield. The vines are balanced with the right amount of fruit. 


Dad trying to remember if that vintage of ’92 was actually awesome or if he just made it up

The next vineyard we looked at was Hendra in the Parish of Gruyere. Sounds wonderful, but it ain’t. No cheese here.  Just vineyards, orchards and cows.

Annnnd I just realised on writing that that that may actually be wonderful for some AND that I managed to get 3 “that’s” in a row in a sentence… Special shout out to Healesville High School English class for enabling that.

As you can see, there’s been PLENTY of water - new green growth at the top of the vines and long green grass.

Unlike last year’s season, the water has come at the right time!

The Sangiovese at Hendra is still a long way off in terms of ripeness – the berries have only just started colouring up and for those of you who paid attention last year, Veraison is the term for this. Congratulations to the two of you who remembered. It means a lot to that you cared.

The green berries at this time are like hard little peas and more sour then a hens group of 40 trying to get in to P&J on a Saturday afternoon in summer.

The Pinot is looking good and is much further along. Pinot usually ripens at least 2-3 weeks before the Sangiovese

As usual, we have some stiff competition on who is going to get it off the vine first.

Time to level up Skippy.

Speaking of Pinot - As always with farming, not everything goes to plan. The Pinot at the Upper Ngumby Vineyard in Yarra Glen got touched up by a slight amount of hail.  It happened early enough in the season (mid-December) for it to have a marginal effect – that is if the next 3 weeks weather-wise are kind. No significant rainfall please!

You can notice the holes in the leaves – these are torn by hailstones. The damage to the leaves will not impact the ripening or vine health.

The hail damage to the berries however can affect the outcome.  The bruising, scarring and splits can turn a good bunch in to a bad one quickly. It can allow the production of vinegar or botrytis (a type of fruit rot) or both.

Very few bunches were damaged.  But those that were exposed had significant bruising and scarring on a small percentage of berries. We’ll have to be on our toes to make sure we achieve the best quality outcome. Luckily this isn't Nathan's (the vineyard manager) first rodeo.

The last Yarra vineyard to get a baseline on was Yarra Station. A pretty vineyard in Yarra Glen with southerly facing slopes – keeping the warmer afternoon sun at bay. You can see the vineyard from the lookout on the Old Healesville-Yarra Glen road.

Both the Pinot and Chardonnay are singing here.



​​​​Con is the owner and grower. He likes to keep his ‘yard looking clean and healthy. His clothes he’s not so worried about.

​​​​​Of note, we had to keep the sausauge dogs close, as there is a family of Wedgetails that live on and patrol the farm. It wouldn’t have been an easy conversation with my cousin as to why her dogs went missing


Another little fun fact is that at the bottom of this vineyard a new gin distillery has opened – Stag Lane Farm – small batch, paddock to plate stuff, not just gin and might be worth a look.


Although there wasn’t much flavour to taste in the vineyard yet, we took some Pinot samples back to analyse for sugar levels (baume) to get a baseline.  Essentially, we pick based on flavour, but the Baume readings give excellent hints on how to time the picks.

Here, you can see Britt taking a reading with the refractometer.

And yes, Britt can’t wink or close one eye. We never realised this is a thing, but we employed her anyway.

Fun fact, when she was younger she developed a special way of "winking" to get around this... Essentially it involved turning her head enough that even though both eyes were closed, it looked like you were getting a wink.



All in all, extremely excited for this Vintage and we should start to see some Chardonnay and Pinot in the house pretty quickly!

Here's to the best vintage since '92