With the new year well under way, the vineyard at Curly Flat is on track with fruit set completed as of mid December. As of late January, Veraison (where green hard berries begin taking on it’s varietal colour and start accumulating sugars) has begun around 2 to 3 weeks early as have been all the stages from budburst on wards. Whilst the growing season hasn’t had that many high maximums, more subtly, the minimums are staying relatively high giving consistent momentum to the vines growth. This coupled with the relatively high humidity and the ever present UV levels may explain this earlier development. Saying that we are now in a pretty dry spell after only receiving 26mm for January and some warm days with constant wind has resulted in 162mm of evaporation. We’ve seen just about every manifestation of weather, outside of snow (which we did have in mid November 2007!) The biggest factor of course is the weather, and it just wouldn’t be agriculture if we didn’t have a few hairy moments. Come Christmas Day that’s just what we got!
To the crack of the Christmas bonbon, came the roar of thunder that cut through the humidity thickened air. This heralded the storms that then lashed Central Victoria with tornadoes to the north-west of Melbourne and, on a wider scale, devastating hail stones that ranged in size from the humble pea to that of a small fist which hit with a force that punched through windscreens with ease. As this event unfolded we were pinned to the radar whilst receiving a torrential, almost tropical downpour. We haplessly looked on hoping the hail didn’t reach us as it would have undoubtedly reduced our potential crop to nothing more than a memory and not to mention damaging the new buds on the green shoots destined to be next years fruiting wood. That bud damage would also cause downstream damage for Vintages to come. Thankfully we just got the rain and were spared the hail, but we feel for anyone who was affected by it.
So with still at least 6-7 weeks till harvest, many factors remain to play out that will dictate the ultimate endgame. We’ll keep you posted with our progress!