Summer in the vineyard is at full throttle. Spring was cool with many topping spring rains. This set the vines up for an explosion of growth when the warm weather hit us leading up to Christmas Day 2022.
Since coming back from Christmas it has been a constant hive of activity in the vineyard including catching up on mowing, tucking, and hedging. The spray programme, consisting mostly of sulphur sprays, has relaxed given the warm mild conditions and no rain. However, we still monitor disease on a regular basis, knowing biodynamic farming leaves no real arsenal in the toolbox to fight disease once it sets in.
Today as I write this blog the bunches are getting very close to closing and we have an average to medium crop due to showers/rain at flowering in early December. Rain can disrupt pollen transfer, preventing fertilisation of the flower. The result is no berry or a seedless berry. There is no risk of overcropping! Too many bunches per vine causes dilution of flavour, acid and tannins. Each season we work hard to keep yields in balance to ensure our quality is maintained and improved as much as possible.
Also slated as an important job but not a huge load on the vineyard crew is monitoring the bunch numbers once bunches have closed. We need to check bunch weights and numbers to ensure crop levels are accurate. Bunch thinning ensues, particularly for the ultra premium wines, if we find the crops are too heavy for the same reason mentioned above.
The next wave of work on our agenda is managing the new vineyards, (2ha of Chardonnay, 0.3ha of Malvasia and 0.5ha of Pinot Gris), by wrapping down the shoots over the fruiting wire as they become long enough. This keeps the vineyard neat and tidy and the trunks straight, as well as providing easy access to the inter-rows.
Bottling has also been happening concurrently. Some wines are nearing ready to bottle, and the barrels will need to be emptied so that we can fill them with this year’s vintage. The wines that were bottled and stored over the winter will be retrieved and labelled ready for Autumn release.
In the winery we will soon start to prepare the cellar for vintage, mostly by maintaining and cleaning equipment ready for harvest in March. It is always like this, a flow from one season to the next. Enjoy the beautiful summer weather and share a glass of wine and kindness whenever you can!