Those of you visiting us in the next 6-8 weeks will see the vineyard in full swing. Vintage is finally here!
In what has been a complete change of conditions from the last 6-7 vintages,
this years long hard slog against wet humid and unseasonably colder conditions is drawing to a close and we are set to commence picking grapes in early March.
I often get asked at cellar door ‘what affect has the rain had on the grapes?’
The answer is not a great deal and in fact the softer conditions have been great for the aromatic whites and softer reds, (Pinot Noir in particular) but, it has seen a doubling (if not more) in work load.
The dry and warmer vintage conditions that we have endured over the past decade has meant that normal cool climate fungus problems such as Mildew, Powdery Mildew and the ever present botrytis have been largely non-existence or easily eradicated with a quick spray of sulphur. This year has been a whole new ball game and is probably one of the most challenging vintages that we have faced for sometime. Consistent rain, humidity and colder conditions have meant that the above mentioned problems have been out in force. It is like they are making up for the years that they were never an issue! The only fix is constantly walking the vines and removing by hand the problem bunches so that you eradicate the outbreak. Sounds easy, but when you have a 120 acres, it is a lot of walking each week.
The final shoe to drop starts this week, and even though it is a lot harder work,
this years conditions will definitely favour our old fashioned hand picking of the crop as it will allow us to make sure that only the right fruit gets to the winery.
What do I think the result will be? I think it will be very good for the wine lover,
as this vintage will see wonderful full flavours, high acids and generally above average quality fruit. The weather needs to hold for the big red’s to finish properly but in general it looks to be a good vintage. The only problem is that it will have been three times the normal work!