Spring time at Yarra Valley Wineries
Well our prayers have been answered! The vineyard has progressed through to the start of November without any frost events and everything is looking good. The early season varieties – Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay – are not far from flowering and when this occurs, we will be hoping for dry, generally mild weather. Favourable weather promotes a good conversion of grape flowers into berries and hence a potentially generous harvest. The worst conditions are extended periods of cold, wet weather when the situation known as “stuck caps “on the flowers results in poor fruit set. Springtime 2016 was the last time we experienced poor fruit set, particularly on Pinot Noir where yields were reduced by 30%.
The last week of October had us completing our replanting for the year. Two clones of Pinot Noir (MV6 and 667), grafted onto phylloxera resistant rootstocks, were put in the ground over two days. All vines were then enclosed in a protective grow tube to encourage strong growth but also to keep the young shoots safe from damage by herbivores – mainly kangaroos, but also rabbits. In all, 1800 vines were planted. In their third growing season they will begin to produce fruit.
Last year’s plantings are growing very strongly and already are showing signs of fruitfulness. They will produce their first yield in February 2021.
Our dams have benefited from late winter and spring rains and are nearly full. This has been the first time since 2015 that we have had any significant inflows from run off. In most years we have to top up our dams from a bore. Bores do not last forever, they tend to collapse on themselves, and this has been the fate of the bore that has served us well to this point. A new shaft has been sunk, the old bore decommissioned, and we are now in the process of installing an electric pump. Our new bore extends to a depth or 115 metres with very good water being struck at 85 metres. This bore, which can deliver about 8 litres per second, will ensure the property remains drought proof for years to come.
On the nature front we are very excited about a pair of Wedgetailed Eagles nesting in a Messmate tree in our bush block. The birds have been on the nest for more than a month now and their habits suggest that chicks have hatched, but as yet we have not seen them. Wedgetails are a very important totem to the local Wurundjeri people and to have a breeding pair on the property is very precious indeed.
There are always plenty of things to do in a vineyard in springtime but we are currently up to date with all tasks. So now I have to do some serious work and find a winner in the Melbourne Cup!