As the autumn vineyard leaves reflect their last luminous hurrah of early morning sun it is perhaps an optimal time to reflect back to a previous vintage or two. After all, a vineyard isn’t always just about the new vintage, there is a history that should be awoken occasionally, even if it is just an exercise in testing the memory bank. A memory stretching back 30 years when the first Shiraz vines were planted on the hill at Blackjack Vineyards.

A winery cannot be separated from its history, and Blackjack now has 25 years of bottled vintage history- 27 years if you count the wine in barrel. The ultimate test of any winery is the consistency and quality across the years. There will always be variations between the vintages-it is one of the joys (and heartaches) of winemaking, indeed, of wine drinking. The very unpredictability is the challenge, the spice, even if only viewed in retrospect.

Looking through the old newsletters searching for some previous inspiration that may been forgotten, the eye, for some reason came to rest on the year 2000, the beginning of a new millennium; the year when the millennium bug was going to stop the world; the year Blackjack Wines appeared on the world wide web; two years before Blackjack Block 6 was born and on checking the records, close to our biggest vintage to date. Coming after the frost devastated 1999 vintage it was a welcome curtain-raiser to the new millennium.

The 2000 vintage can also perhaps lay claim to being the longest, and even latest vintage. Picking began on Anzac Day and the last of the grapes were picked on the 3rd of June 2000. Compare this to the new 2016 release when the first grapes were picked on 25th February and the last on the 8th March. This early picking in 2016 was generally Australia wide and it seems, mainly due to a very warm October, in fact, the warmest October on record. Another contributing factor to the earlier picking of the 2016 VINTAGE (compared to the 2000 vintage) was the crop load, which on a per tonne to the acre comparison, was almost exactly half. And it should also be remembered that, in 2000, the resident winemakers, by necessity, were still attending their day jobs, so picking had to occur at weekends, thereby extending the vintage even further.


We are very pleased with the resultant 2016 wines, particularly the palate balance and textual tannin profile across each of the wines. In our humble judgement, the 2016 vintage promises to be a long-lived vintage.

The observant few who have noted the 2000 wines on the Vigneron’s lunch table may be wondering how the wines have fared after their 18 years. The consensus was, like the winemakers, perhaps past their prime, but still with something to give.

Those who did take the time to read the last newsletter may recall that in 2016 we made a small wine batch – to replicate the very first wine we released in 1994- from equal quantities of grapes from each vineyard block; from the original Shiraz, Block 6 and Cabernet blocks. All fermented in new French oak puncheons with extended skin contact and finally basket pressed and blended before being returned to the same barrels for ageing. We have now bottled that wine, just 100 dozen, and our intention is to release it to our mailing list customers later in the year. And it has a name, Mr Ramoy. Some of you will be aware that Blackjack is named after an American sailor who came to the Castlemaine Goldfields in the 1850’s. His actual name was Santa Rosa Ramoy(Mr Ramoy alias Mr Blackjack) . This is a nice segue into our other eponymously named new wine, which is currently available, the 2017 Blackjack “Rosa”, a Shiraz and Cabernet blend Rosé. It has to be said, contrary to the Mr Ramoy, “Rosa” was an unplanned child (it just happened), which doesn’t mean she/he is any less loved. It is a distinctive and textual Rosé.


Just in, and in tune with the ambience of the Newsletter, it is very pleasing to be included in the Real Review’s (Huon Hooke et al) inaugural

Top Wineries of Australia 2018.

“The Certificate of Excellence is awarded to a select group of wineries that consistently produce excellent wine”

On the International front, the 2015 Estate Wines, the Blackjack Shiraz, Block 6 Shiraz and the Cabernet Merlot, scored a trifecta of Silver Medals at the 2017 International Wine and Spirits Show in London.


Again, as for the past three years, at the historic and rather beautiful Royal Society of Victoria Building. We look forward to catching up with many of you.

  • Thursday 5th July 2018 from 4 pm to 7 pm.
  • The Royal Society of Victoria, 9 Victoria St (cnr Exhibition St and Victoria St) Melbourne 3000, in the Burke and Wills Room.

See enclosed INVITATION for time and date and bring it along for a chance to win a door prize of a 3 pack of the Blackjack Estate wines. And, orders received on the night will go into a draw to win a mixed case (12pack) of the new current release.

The new releases are now on tasting at the cellar door and we invite you to come and try the new vintage. We are open weekends from 11 am to 5 pm, and look forward to meeting you. If you purchase directly from the cellar door, please let us know so we can keep our mail order records up to date, and so you get your mail order discount. We again extend to our valued mail order customers the opportunity to have your order delivered freight free. We use Australia Post to deliver wine. If not home they will leave a note for collection at your local Post Office, or you can have it sent to a PO Box. Australia Post will not leave wine unless there are specific instructions to do so.