Monday, December 25, 2017

Friday, December 01, 2017

Vintage 2018 Update 1

The weather has still been fairly dry but we have finally had a day or two of some decent rain.
You wouldn't have known it though on the following days as it had soaked completely into the puddles on our road and our creek is still not running. The water table must be extremely low.
It is also spring storm season. Warm humid days can produce afternoon thunderstorms which form out west and head for the coast. I get severe storm warnings on my phone and by email from my home insurance company which I can then monitor on the weather bureau's radar site.
Mostly they don't make it over the mountains or deteriorate into drizzle by the time they get here.
But the other afternoon one big one did. We had simultaneous lightning and thunder and it began to hail which is a grape grower's nightmare. The hailstones got bigger and bigger as the storm got wilder. Then suddenly it turned into torrential rain. We got a welcome 25mm in 30 minutes and thankfully no vine damage.
And our tanks are again full.

We have been protective spraying for downy and powdery mildews as well as botrytis but, due to the drier weather, disease pressure is low. There is no apparent pest problem either.
Plenty of fruit is forming on the Semillon and Tempranillo but the Pinot Noir is light on for some reason. The Cabernet suffered a little as the kangaroos managed to get themselves through the netting to eat the new shoots.
Due to the dry weather they have come in from the bush to feed on fresh spring pasture. I stopped counting when I got to 40 animals feeding in my neighbour's paddock the other afternoon. I have reinforced the bottom of my netting with some wire netting to try to thwart them.
That is where they normally get in. When stretching up to get shoots growing through the netting, their feet tear big holes which they can then crawl through.
So far so good but a cull would be a better solution. Sometimes one thinks it's a pity that is illegal.

I came across զuite a big snake around one of the vine blocks and have seen a couple sunning themselves on our road near the bridge. Our neighbour had one in his backyard so the season has begun. I will be keeping a closer eye out from now on and wearing boots.
In other farm news, Stirls came down for a few days working bee. We dismantled a superfluous round yard and recycled some of the timber posts and rails from it into cattle yard repairs. The rest will be cut up for firewood.
There were also some fences that needed repairing as well as good food needing eating and a few bottles of special wine that needed drinking, He enjoyed his three days here.