And then the rains came

And then the rains came.

After a decade of well below average rainfall we are about to break the 1000mm mark. The decade prior to the long running drought we were used to totals around 750mm. What a remarkable surprise this spring has been. Dams that had not filled since the late 1990s have overflowed several times over. We have completely saturated soils that are so waterlogged we are having troubles getting the tractor into the vineyard. This is a long forgotten problem but given the long, long dry it’s a healthy problem to have.

South Eastern Australia has welcomed the rain but less welcome has been the warm, humid conditions that are creating huge disease pressure. We have made many passes through the vineyard by hand to remove water shoots and shoots from the vines’ crowns. The canopy is open and airy and any basic sulphur and copper applications are highly effective and we continue not to use any systemic sprays. So far, we have not had any outbreak of mildews. Timing in seasons like this is critical and timing has been made doubly difficult due to the wet ground and frequent thunderstorms and rain events.

The 2010 red wines are nearly through malo and ready for raking off lees. The chardonnays are still on lees and will also be racked in the next few months. The wines are showing a lot of power and intensity with particularly deep, long finishes. It will be very interesting to see their form after racking and being returned to barrel.

Yesterday we noticed the first sign of flowering and today there is a little more widespread. We require warm, even weather during this time and I note the forecast is for thunderstorms and wind. It really is that type of contrary season.