The 2023 winter was the driest in many years which resulted in consistent wallaby and hare invasion, snacking on 1-2 tonnes of potential premium crops. Crop damage was reduced once our fences were repaired. Our flock of sheep, who kindly mow the grass over winter, were relocated to our western property at Hayes, 28km from Granton, in the last week of September. This was due to the earlier than usual bud burst in early October which is approximately, 10 days earlier than the norm.
In general, the growing season of 2023-24 was dominated by warm overcast days with a major rain event of 20mm in the second week of January 2024. We also experienced high winds at flowering in early December that may have contributed to poor flowering set in some of our more exposed plantings. Yields, particularly in our Chardonnay vineyards are better this season compared to last but it is too early to tell if yields will exceed 2023. Quality winemaking causes yields to be managed, if the weather does not do it for us.
Verasion commenced in the third week of January however lately the evenings and mornings have been very cool if not cold. Overnight temperatures have gotten down as low as 10 degrees celsius, slowing ripening. Delayed ripening is good in our case as it builds flavour whilst the sugar content increases.
Netting of the vineyard is expected to take place this week beginning the 5th of February. Depending on the weather we are expected to start harvest between the 20th and 26th of February with the intake of sparkling fruit. The lowest yielding premium wines will follow soon after with Sasso Pinot Noir and then Single Block Pinot Noirs.
Generally speaking we are very happy with the current shape of our vineyards. We have controlled the weeds much better this season with consistent blading and tilling, we managed to repair a lot of the damaged infrastructure as a result of machinery use rather than synthetic sprays. Drip lines, irrigation sub mains, broken steel and wooden posts, trellis wires and some replants have mostly been ticked off the repair list. Although repairs and maintenance of our vineyard are not the most exciting and glamorous parts of our business, they are worth the investment in producing an excellent result and quality wine.