I'm currently in the process of writing up last year's Yarra trip. Absurdly late, I know, but it's because I'm still in a position where I'm learning so much, visiting, tasting and asking, and it's quite tough to be disciplined enough to write everything up, which I mean to do.
At the New Zealand tasting I met up with Tony and Michele Jordan, who kindly hosted me on my visit. It was really good to see them again. I'd heard that things hadn't been so good in the Yarra this vintage: phylloxera and frosts had been reported on in the press. Tony explained that while the frosts had been a real problem - with Chandon losing 80% of this year's production and Yering Station 100% - phylloxera wasn't as bad as people had made out. There had been an outbreak, but it was of the non-winged version. The worst-case scenario is of spread through the valley, but at such a slow speed that growers would have a decade to replant to resistant rootstock (currently almost all vines are on their own roots). For Chandon, the main problem is the restrictions that any nearby phylloxera outbreak brings, which can be a real hassle.
One of the visits that struck me the most on my trip was to Yeringberg. Guill de Pury (pictured above), as well as being a Swiss count, is one of the pioneers of the Yarra resurgence. In the 1920s winegrowng disappeared from the valley; in the 1970s he and a small band of other pioneers were responsible for the re-birth of viticulture here. Meeting him and his wife, and tasting their wines, was a connection with some important history (read more here). I think the portrait captured some of that.