That is when the grapes have stopped cell growth and start to change colour with sugars developing and acids reducing.
This means for the early varieties, harvest is not far away.
We now become even more concerned with the weather.
Too much rain, apart from increasing disease potential, will cause juice dilution (reduced sugar levels) and the possibility of grape berry splitting. The latter is particularly concerning for the thinner skinned varieties like Semillon and the tightly bunched varieties like Pinot Noir. Splitting is an open invitation for the fungus disease Botrytis to take hold.
So what is our weather data so far this season?
November: 95mm over 11 days (average: 84mm over 9 days)
December: 47mm over 8 days (average: 69mm over 8 days)
January: 265mm over 15 days (average: 86mm over 9days)
Yes, January is a bit of a disaster.
It has apparently been the wettest in three decades.
There is a very strong El Niño affect in place. We have been subjected to very intense thunderstorms virtually every second day which dump a lot of rain on us in very short time spans. Weather Bureau warnings of strong winds, potential large hail and flash flooding for the state are a daily occurrence.
We have tested the Baume (sugar level) of both Semillon and Tempranillo. We are a few degrees short of an acceptable level in both. A taste and seed maturity test of the Pinot Noir confirmed it needs more time and a formal test is a week or so away. The late variety Cabernet Sauvignon won't be subjected to testing for at least another 3 weeks or so.
|Currawong and Satin Bird|
The birds have now become aware of the bountiful supply of food behind the netting and are looking for every way of getting in. So far one or two have been successful and it's a constant battle to find and patch up the holes. They, especially the satin birds, are very resourceful and inspect all the vulnerable areas eg. joins, on a continual basis. The currawongs swing back and forth on the netting sides using their long beaks to sneak a berry or two.