This is the time for reflection of the 2021 vintage and to start planning for the 2022 vintage. The vines have lost their leaves and become dormant. The sap has stopped flowing and this is when the carbohydrates return to storage in the root system, allowing time for rest and regeneration of the vine before it starts to bud again in Spring. Pruning and maintenance is in full swing in preparation for the next vintage.
RAINFALL AND HARVEST CONDITIONS
The rain was evenly distributed throughout the 2020/21 growing season and achieved slightly below the annual long term average rainfall for the area of 1000 mm. Temperatures were mild and the harvest was a few days later than normal (and a whole month later than 2020). The fruit was hand harvested over four separate picks decided upon by the winemaker. A strong downpour of rain resulted in some anxiety about the condition of the fruit and a biological treatment was used successfully to protect it from being affected by potential botrytis. The fruit was fully netted and in pristine condition thanks to very low bird pressure in general. Yields were favourable compared with the previous few years.
We continue to work towards sustainability practices. Our goal is to leave this place better than when we purchased it.
A three-year cycle of continual improvement and renewal of the chardonnay vineyard was completed, whereby all previously spur pruned vines have now been cane pruned. This has allowed increased light and airflow due to a reduced canopy and fewer but larger bunches of fruit, together giving a significant improvement in vine health and reduction in disease risk
We also undertook a trial of double cordon cane pruning on one row of chardonnay which showed pleasing results, allowing us to increase the yield of our premium fruit to meet market demand.
VINTAGE 2022 PLANNING
Brett has been hard at work preparing the vines by selecting fruitful new canes in preparation for laying them down on all the cordon wires for the next cycle. Welcome assistance from Johannes will give Brett more time this year to extend double cordon pruning to all the grafted chardonnay rows which are showing strong growth and fruitfulness.
The pinot noir vines have come along very well and have also been converted to cane pruning this year by Todd with help from Christina.
The other winter activities include striking more chardonnay canes to prepare rootlings for additional planting. There is also ongoing maintenance of posts and wires, irrigation piping, machinery, nets and other equipment. And the vines need to be fed!
So, the next two months will be a continuous hive of activity in a very wet vineyard. The steady and often heavy rain has been a challenge for the vineyard workers but a boon for the dormant vines which will wake up to a fertile spring environment.