2016 Vintage - to look forward we must look back..
Date Posted:1 June 2015
Winter is well and truly here and I look on this time as the beginning of a new season. Before we start out in the vineyard again I’ve had a moments reflection on the last 12 months. Here’s how I’ve marked the card:
Winter (2014) - early; Rainfall (2014) - low; Spring (2014) – early; Summer (2014/5) – early; Vintage 2015 – early; Autumn 2015 – early; Winter 2015 – early.
Now maybe this is the new normal but there are some worrying signs here. The rain fell away from the end of June last year, and the last half of the year was very, very dry. I’d call it a drought. Notwithstanding that the yields were not greatly affected for the 2015 vintage (except for our prized Saperavi) which is quite remarkable. Maybe it was that January rain which saved the day. We’ve had a good season opener for rain in April and May but the science boffins say El Nino is back and it will be a dry year. Now I can’t lose sleep over a forecast because it may not happen so it’s business as usual.
The leaves are nearly all gone and we are about to start pruning. I’ve had the call from Dana. He’s a Cambodian refugee who is absolute ‘gold’. Dana and his wife have now been pruning for me for 18 years and he represents all that is good about immigration into Australia. Over that time I have watched his children grow up and they are now university graduates. They still come out on weekends and help Dana and his wife prune our vines. For most of the year Dana works on a strawberry farm. He prunes for me during his annual winter holidays which is the quiet season for strawberries. He and his family have a great work ethic.
Pruning is the most important activity in the cycle of the vine as it sets the productivity and quality of the grapes for at least two years in advance. Good pruners like Dana understand this relationship and take pride in their skill.