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Our News

Filtering by Tag: wine

Vineyard News - Veraison & The John West Walk

Sandy Yeates

Much is written about grapevines being part of magnificent symphonies where all the key components arrive harmoniously at a single point in time – vintage.

Harmony is the key. Grape clusters need to arrive on time, be beautifully dressed in dark colours and perform exquisitely under the conductor’s baton with no hi jinx! Recalcitrants and non-conformists are shown the door.

This means the drummers have to sober, the seductive violinists need to keep well apart and not go smooching and the gorgeous sopranos shall not arrived under-dressed or sunburnt.

Veraison (colour change) is like the last lap around the stadium in a long distance race that started on the 15th January – 12 days later than last year.. The process in our Shiraz is likely to be complete in a week’s time, after which sugar levels will increase until the juice triggers a target level (brix) and the grapes taste ripe.

Veraison is a good time to check each grapevine to make sure they are meeting the orchestral standards to deliver exceptional wine. Bunches that are too green are decommissioned; entangled and knotted bunches are separated for better air circulation, weeds growing under the vines are pulled out (organic management) and the vines are skirted (trimmed) to achieve free under vine air movement. It is the same process John West performs with his tuna!

February is Mudgee’s highest rainfall month and the risk of fungal disease (botrytis) triggered by high humidity is at its peak. The next 3 weeks will be like walking across a bed of hot coals in the hope of still having an intact foot at the finish line.

The John West walk takes hours & days and most vineyards don’t do it because of the cost. Our wine consultant’s assessments of our last few vintages vindicates our attention to detail has paid dividends. We are hoping the initiative will work this year as well. All looks good so far!


Edwina Yeates

After a dry summer and autumn the Mudgee region has received wonderful rain this winter culminating in 80mm rain in the last week.

The vineyard sits on a nice hill at just under 500 metres above mean sea level where the ground is wet but not flooded like the Cudgegong river flats below. The rain has filled the soil profile to the brim. In technical terms this event is described as “field capacity” which means the soil has a full tummy and any more rain runs off. There are lots of smiling farmers and grape growers at the moment because for the first time is over a decade the dams are all full and the subterranean aquifers are recharging.

As the day temperatures start to warm the topsoil will dry out which means our boots won’t get saturated in the mornings as we complete the process of tying down canes on to the cordon wires. Further down the profile the moisture will remain providing beautiful spring moisture to our very old vines as they burst in to life.

The buds on our shiraz are starting to soften so we will expect budburst to occur in the last week of this month – this is a very exciting time! It is a bit like the starting gun in a long distant race! Out will come the tractor and the spray rig in order to provide the new leaves with organically certified sprays to protect them from fungal diseases.

Currently, the base of the vines abounds in clover 25cm high that has responded to the recent application of Guano fertiliser which is made from seagull droppings - so it is about as organic as you can get! 

As the season progresses, we will run a mulching mower through the vineyard so the clovers and grasses don’t compete with the vines for moisture. Once mulched, the cut herbage will breakdown and in the process recycle essential minerals back into the soil into the waiting arms of the grape vine feeder roots. 

Spring has sprung really well – the new vintage is off and racing.