Fungus, predominantly downy mildew, won the war in the Pinot Noir, Semillon and Tempranillo blocks this year, despite preventative and curative spraying.
This caused considerable leaf fall.
Once downy gets a hold it's difficult to control. The early part of December was very wet and we were away when the infection initiated. It was an uphill fight hindered by continual rain (lots of rain days) to bring things under control on our return mid month.
This was the known risk we took travelling at that time of year.
Although there was a considerable amount of fruit left on the Tempranillo, the lack of leaf prevented it from ripening to a suitable level.
The highest sugar reading before bunch shrivelling set in was 10° Baume, much too low to make a suitable wine. We look for a level between 12.5° and 14° Baume for that variety.
Meanwhile the Cabernet Sauvignon is progressing well. Fungus has been kept to a minimum and any leaf loss has been minimal.
Plenty of fruit on the vines too and the condition of the bunches is excellent. Despite the virtually continual rain from early December up until mid February there has been no sign of botrytis either.
Last sugar reading was 11° Baume so we expect to harvest in the last week of March or first week of April.