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How the world has changed since the last time the vineyard had just finished flowering in November 2019! And yet the vines are forging forward towards vintage 2021.
This growing season was off to a good start with the soil profile topped up with good winter rainfall. I always judge how wet a winter has been by the Clarendon weir and how often it overflows during winter – and this year was the first time in three years that I saw it overflow so that was good news.
Flowering has now finished throughout most of McLaren Vale and growers are eagerly monitoring their vineyards to see how the fruit set went. We did have some rain, then hot and windy conditions during flowering, which may have affected fruit set and could lead to lower crops in 2021 so we will wait and see how the vines coped with these conditions.
Our Tipsy Hill vineyard in Blewitt Springs has a permanent grass sward between the vine rows and this has been mown (or as we call in the industry, slashed) this week and we are going through and removing watershoots from the trunks. The vines are looking very healthy and because of the good winter rainfall we haven’t yet started irrigating, however, this will likely start in a few weeks’ time. We use drip irrigation and are careful with how much water we use in the vineyard since we a conscious about water usage.
Shoot growth has started slowing down now as the vines get ready to start focusing their energy towards the development of fruit, and I’m looking forward to see what the fruit set looks like this year!