Weather; Maker and Breaker. 

From start to finish, from September to April, the season gives a long ride. Sometimes exhilarating, continually challenging, occasionally debilitating and always, always, satisfying. For whatever the outcome of quality and yield the season must ultimately be viewed positively and the journey itself as a fulfilment. There are gifts to be given and there are gifts to be taken.

There’s a certain fatefulness that must be held and accepted over these months. The striving work is done upon the accumulated lessons of seasons past and in this there is an inherent energy tinged with some yearnings, some anxiety and, over-ridingly, much hopefulness. The calmness, the swirl of wisdom from having seen many outcomes does soften this anxiety and heightens the level of acceptance. To a point.

Seasons early, seasons late?

In 2016 we see the earliest ever calendar pick in early March, yet still 110 to 115 days from fruit set. Abnormal by the calendar, but normal by the period to maturity. In 2017 we are tracking for a harvest early to mid April, about 110 to 115 days from fruit set. Normal is as normal does. And Easter? Well, that was mid March in 2016 and it is mid April in 2017. This telling by the moon is telling.

We have experienced the most stunning run of Autumnal weather with four weeks of thrillingly sunny warm days punctuated by refreshingly cool nights. In the conjuring of comparisons of vintages prior it’s a little heart racing to recall 1991 and 2000. Chickens, hatch, counting….don’t! This present tropical, brooding thunderstorm system pushes us out onto the tightrope of ripening as the season threatens to fracture. We approach the games of risk and return; balancing the risks of disease and dilution, awaiting the return of the sunny splendour.

We begin the deep breaths in weather watching and willing the grapes across that tightrope.