The grapes to produce Shiraz Cabernet “Bernoota” Lake Breeze were crushed to small open-top tanks for fermentation, which took place on the skins over seven to 10 days. Shiraz Cabernet “Bernoota” Lake Breeze was then pressed straight to new and used French and American oak barriques to complete fermentation, followed by 20 months maturation. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration. Fruit selection was paramount with only the best blocks being retained for the Lake Breeze label and only the best rows of these blocks on a lot of occasions.
The grapes were harvested from 40 to 50 year old vines, which produce richly flavoured, concentrated berries. All the vines are on their own rootstocks and the soils are generally alluvial sandy loams with some over a clay base. This dry region, situated at the bottom of the Murray River, is irrigated by a weir floodgate system, and when flooded it has been known for a canoeist to be spotted among the vineyards! The vineyards are surrounded by striking, historically important gum trees that still bear the holes that were once dug out by the Aboriginal Australians to carve into canoes to sail up the river. Perfectly apt for this wine, as ‘Bernoota’ means “camp among the gum trees”.
Lake Breeze is located in Langhorne Creek, South Australia, where the Follett family has been farming grapes since the 1880s. The estate is situated on the banks of Lake Alexandrina and the vineyard benefits from the ‘lake breeze’. Winemaker Greg Follett was brought up on the farm but left to study winemaking at Roseworthy before heading to make wine in California and France. He returned to his roots and in 1987 started making wine exclusively from the best 30 per cent of his old vine fruit. He rapidly built an enviable reputation for consistently producing outstanding wines and Lake Breeze is now one of the most awarded boutique wineries in Australia.