Monday, September 25, 2006

Spring Vineyard Chores

Work in all three vineyard blocks has been intense over the last few weeks. The major project has been the installation of overall netting to exclude wallabies and kangaroos during budburst and shoot growth and, subsequently, birds during the ripening phase. Positive evidence of global warming was budburst occuring at least three weeks early this season. This meant the nets had to be put over as quickly as possible so that not too many buds were lost. Netting has a nasty habit of "adhering" to everything it touches, especially in windy conditions, with swelling buds easily pulled off. Managing the 11m wide lengths of netting is not easy as they have to be stretched at the right tension across top wires and then tied to them by cable ties. The ends and sides are then pegged down under a taught line.
With the help of a friend two blocks were finished in a few days. The remaining block I did myself. This was a very frustrating and lengthy process but a good lesson in patience.

Bud burst and shoot growth have progressed well with good rain early in September providing much needed sub soil moisture.
All four varieties look good. Especially pleasing is the condition of the Pinot Noir which is notoriously difficult to grow.

Summer came early on Sunday 25th September, with 35C temperatures and westerly winds gusting up to 110km/hr. Bad bush fires were burning to the north of us and a large part of the small community had to be evacuated. Luckily, with the brave efforts of the rural fire brigade, no houses were lost but a large swathe of bush burnt from the lake to the beach. Two large caravan parks were also spared.
Hopefully this is not a preview of things to come. Disappointingly, rumours abound that this particular fire was deliberately lit!