November vineyard update
Semillon for the 2016 Bertha Amanda now at pea-size berry stage.
November has been kind to us, with 28mm of rain falling at the beginning of the month and relatively consistent weather through flowering and fruit set. We are now looking forward to a slightly higher than average yield across all varieties on the property, with good bunch numbers and bunch sizes across the board.
The challenge has been maintaining adequate water for the vines to use. Fortunately, we have the ability to measure the soil moisture content in each block at 10cm intervals down to to 1.2m. This allows us to make informed decisions about when to irrigate each block to ensure that we are using our water in the most effective way. Dad (Martin), continues to be a great sounding board, with his 20 + years experience running this vineyard, proving to come in handy in dry years like this. To date, we have had 323mm of rainfall this year compared to our longterm average of 448mm, down nearly 30%.
From here the berries will continue to increase in size until they reach veraison, which should occur early-mid January. Veraison is where the berries soften and change colour, and from there, sugar levels start to increase, and acid levels start to drop right up until the grapes are picked.
We recently grafted 1 hectare of our Merlot to Shiraz, using the T-bud method. Click here to watch a brief video of how this is done. Essentially, a dormant bud is taken from a cutting of a Shiraz vine and inserted into an t-shaped incision made in the trunk of the Merlot vine, so that the xylem (carries water) and phloem (carries food) connect and provide life to the new Shiraz bud. Tape is then applied to seal the incision from air and water, and apply pressure to the Shiraz bud to ensure that contact is maintained with the Merlot trunk.
By this time next year, we will have Shiraz fruit growing on Merlot roots that will be going into our 2017 Estate Shiraz.
Last Wednesday, the 25th of November, 82,600 hectares of land was burnt to the west of the Barossa Valley. With strong south-westerly winds, the 40km wide fire front was burning our of control advancing at speeds in excess of 80km/h. At one stage the skies over Whistler turned black, with wind direction pushing the thick smoke directly over the Barossa. Fortunately, the wind direction changed and the fire skirted the western edge of the Barossa, just missing the small town of Greenock and Kapunda.
Sadly, two people lost their lives in this tragedy. Our hearts go out to those affected, and our sincere thanks go to the Country Fire Service and volunteers who helped to contain the blaze some 5 days later.
If you would like to make a donation to the CFS foundation, please click here.
Josh Pfeiffer- Grapegrower & Winemaker