After an exceptionally wet winter, summer arrived early in our region with record-breaking December temperatures and widespread drought-like conditions. The sub-tropical storm which recently hammered the country was early enough in the vintage to have little effect on the grapes, although if it had been a month later we might not have been so sanguine.
Too much rain close to harvest can cause fruit splitting and open up the grape to disease.
The hot days are now pushing many of the grape varieties into veraison, where the fruit starts to soften and change colour. It’s a busy time in the vineyard as we have to decide on the amount of fruit we believe each vine can ripen, and remove excess crop and any shading leaves from around the bunches. The precious fruit is then netted to ward off the ravaging birds, which seem particularly voracious this year.