An update from Rich
Well, dare I mention again that this year certainly has been a challenging one for growing grapes! While there is not much sign of the start of summer the winds have definitely died down. We have also had plenty of rain lately to keep the soil moisture levels up with 22 mm falling the other night in the space of about 3 hrs which caused plenty of minor flooding around Cromwell but thankfully no major washouts in the vineyard.
Trimming has been instigated on almost all blocks with really good results. This will put additional growth into smaller shoots and direct energy reserves into the developing fruit. This combined with the period of vigour now occurring, has pretty much ensured we have a full height of canopy across the board. There are a couple of problem spots in exposed areas and I would like to see added wind protection here for next season and I am currently researching some ways to manage this. All fruit in these areas has been dropped to ensure no inferior bunches are included in the finished wine.
The work we have put into our shoot growth is paying off. The importance of canopy management has not been overlooked and maintaining vertical shoots through the windy times has sent the team through tucking many times more than normal to ensure the safety of the shoots and their tips.
I am finding smaller than normal bunches over the whole of the vineyard which is a really good thing in terms of wine quality but will keep yields low so order your wine now! There are signs of véraison occurring in some of the Pinot Noir vines in the Lakefront block which had some of the earlier flowering times. From now till the end of harvest, it will remain crucial to make sure leaves don’t senesce before we have fully ripened our fruit and crop loads are in balance with leaf area.
Other than that the vineyard is all up to date with mowing and weed spraying and a second round removing suckers has also been performed. Our Suzuki vineyard hack which was away at the doctors is now back and Steve is eager to put it to use fixing broken posts. And just new to the vineyard crew are Thomas, Marko and Tanja all from Germany so now we are making really good progress removing excessive bunches. Till next time. Rich