Thursday, April 16, 2009

An April Update

We had been waiting longer than usual to pick the Cabernet Sauvignon to get it a little riper.
This grape variety always produces a fairly "thin" wine on the South Coast due to our maritime climate and an increased alcohol level seems to offset this a little.
Everyone else in the district had picked theirs a week or two before.
Our main 'enemy' in this endeavour is the weather. Any big rain event increases the possibility of fungal disease, particularly botrytis.
Sure enough on the weekend we had over 50mm of rain.
And the first signs of botrytis began to show within 48 hours.

So we picked on Wednesday. Fruit quality was excellent despite a small amount of shrivel from vines at the shallower soil end of the block.
Juice was at 12.8 deg Baume and pH 3.5 which is a great result.
The harvest was quickly crushed and yeast, MLF culture and oak staves added.
Fermentation did not start until 12 hours later.
I guess this is due to the cooler overnight temperatures that are now in single digit figures.
Autumn is obviously just around the corner.
The Semillon is almost ready for bottling, the Tempranillo is still settling out and the Pinot Noir is doing its thing. Last year's Cabernet Sauvignon is ready for bottling to make way for this years.

Other than that, the Grange co-owner and I did some heavy work during his stay repairing some sections of the cattle yards and removing quite a number of newly growing trees from grazing pasture. However we left quite a number along the creek banks as part of the creation of a wider riparian zone on the property.
Sadly we lost a calf. It was Stretch's mother's second one. I found it in a very bad way after noticing the mother had not moved from the same spot for over 12 hours. The young one had scoured badly and was foaming at the mouth. I think it was snake bite. We did all we could to revive her but to no avail.
A few days later another calf arrived. I watched from a distance. The birth was quick and uneventful.
Another bull!!!!!!
He is already part of the herd. The mother didn't bother hiding him away for the mandatory two weeks.
So the next months will see the continuation of the long term weed eradication program, fence repairing, wine monitoring, a short holiday trip to Hong Kong in June and then pruning.

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