Volume 72: Macarthur family correspondence relating to wine, 1846-1900: No. 109

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[Page 109]

[indecipherable] The Malbec is [indecipherable] valued for wine, and the Verdot only upon the low almost marshy vineyards called "Palus".  There is another sort called the Caebernet goes a little honey in the [indecipherable] very common in the Langoa vines more productive than the open Caebernet but not considered to give such good wine, we have not got this sort, low in good parts of the Langoa vines.  I was surprised to find water flowing copiously in the trenches but 3 feet from the surface indicating an over wet state of the subsoil & I am told that by under ground tile draining the the land has been rendered much less wet than formerly.  In fact although the soil is so much composed of pebbles it is not deep enough to drain itself like other vineyards.  A good part of the surface is not inclined enough or sufficiently intersected with [indecipherable] or slopes to drain with.  It only surprises me that wine of such quality & renown should be here produced.  We saw the wine fermenting in large vats say 35 Hhds [Hogsheads] or 1500 to 2000 gallons.  I have since seen them of all sizes, up to 7000.  They say they never get too warm.  The grapes here are separated carefully from [skins ?] by rubbing brushes over a large [indecipherable].  The berries crushed by feet and then conveyed in tubs of oval form (dimensions given at end) carried by two men on their shoulders (by means of a pole thrust through the tubs) up a moveable inclined plane into the vats.  The bottoms of the vats are about 3.3 from the  floor of the wine house.  This [indecipherable] is 200 feet long by 40 feet wide and is occupied solely by the vats and the spacious [trading boxes?] made of solid pieces of wood, with one or two other appurtenances.  Alongside this large space is one of similar dimensions in which are ranged in rows the Hhds. into which the wine is put when drawn off from the vats.  I have seen the process, it consists simply in driving a cork not unlike one of ours into the vat and discharging its contents into a huge tub, as soon as a sufficient quantity is run off they begin to carry it to the Hhds. in the adjoining chamber in the oval shaped tubs with a pole [indecipherable] through the above mentioned.  The vessel used to bail it from the large tubs is an iron hooped wooden vessel holding 4½ gallons shaped like a jug or pitcher, two fulls of it making the load

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