The Growing Year to Vintage 2017.

A whole growing season has passed since our last post in August 2016!!  Whilst the blog has been quiet, activity in the vineyard has not, so we thought we would give an overview of the season from pruning last winter through to autumn 2017.

PRUNING is one of the biggest and important tasks in the growing year, setting the foundations for the following harvest.  The vineyard is all pruned by hand and takes approximately 3 months to complete, work taking place come rain or shine!

Celebrating the end of pruning 🙂

A light dusting of snow in July

A very cold start to a beautiful day in August

Always a welcome sight – a rainbow seen from the 98 Block

Winter also saw good rainfall.  By the end of September we were 93 mm above the long term average.  This meant that the vines were well set up with deep soil moisture for the growing year.

The creek overflowing across the road to the vineyard

BUDBURST was early, around the 12th September and was uniform across the blocks. Once again, the frost system provided protection from the early spring frosts.  After the early start, the months of October and November were very cool and the growth was healthy but slow.

New growth.

The overhead sprinklers of the frost system in action.

Tender buds protected under the ice

A slow start

Beautiful even growth in our 2000 block

FLOWERING started around the 12th December, the weather was perfect leading to a really excellent FRUIT SET.  An unexpected frost on the 19th December with temperatures dropping to -1.5 C in parts of the vineyard resulted in burn damage to our 97 Block.

Each individual flower is a potential berry on a bunch

Good weather = good pollination = good fruit set 🙂

A very healthy canopy supporting strong bunch development in the 98 Block

VERAISON was well underway by early February after several months of vigorous growth – the slow start by now a distant memory.  The vineyard team trimmed the unruly canopy to ensure good air circulation and light penetration to the precious fruit.

Veraison – anticipation of the harvest to come.

Trimming and tucking

The powerhouse!

HARVEST 2017 started with a small ‘in house’ pick on the 31st March, with full picking starting on the 3rd April.  The harvest was plentiful with excellent, clean quality fruit. Picking went smoothly, and took in total 8 days to complete, finishing on the 13th April.  The heavy rain that came on the 9th and 10th resulted in a 3 day break in the picking but luckily did not affect the small remaining amount of fruit.

The team taking samples for testing prior to harvest

Beautiful clean bunches of Pinot Noir.

Good harvesting weather for the Pinot Gris

The end of another year.

AUTUMN 2017 sees the vineyard entering winter dormancy and our thoughts are once again turning to pruning which will begin in a week or so at the start of June….the cycle continues 😀

Some of our resident roos enjoying the autumn peace.

Chilly mornings have returned

Mellow yellow – May 2017

 

Scenes from Curly Flat -winter 2016

Here’s a variety of shots taken over what has been a winter that has been mostly wet, very wet! As you get all sorts of weather in between, from the sometimes sunny days which serve as the sucker punch to the days of howling wind & driving rain. The rain is welcome though as it has been in deficit of recent years so this sustained soak will hopefully work its way down deeper into our soils. This will help get our vines into a favourable space for budburst and hopefully vintage 2017 overall.

Although 31st May, this frosty start set the tone for winter!

Frost 2000 block

Frost upclose on a vine

Sunrise on June 1st

95 block – 21 years old this year!

Purple haze – sunrise over Lake Lacuna July 18th

Pruning workshop & more with Simonet & Sirch from Italy

Pruners finishing after a long day

Arty shot of CF winery

We’ve had a few beautiful days too!

Daylight hours are extending…

…but it’s still very cold most mornings!

Above average rains have got the creeks flowing

An epic sunrise, 9th August

The big push – one (big) block left to prune!

Finishing on a positive note… while rainbows have been pretty common this year, they always look spectacular!