How quickly we move from the grey short cold days of winter dormancy (for vine, not custodian) to the green lengthening warm days of spring. From the bud burst of mid September to the elongating shoots of October it is our most frantic time in the vineyard. Mowing, cultivating under vine, applying sulphur, fish and seaweed emulsions as well as shoot thinning takes up a lot of time and demands a seven day a week commitment.
Add in establishing a new ultra close planted vineyard (finishing planting today) and it seems there's barely a spare moment to enjoy the splendour of the carpets of greens. But take a moment we do and things are really looking beautiful. The mature plantings are growing very well and we approach the rest of the growing season with much hope, and a little trepidation after several small harvests.
Our new planting of Pinot Noir involves four clones (two new to us) and is mostly at a density of 11,300 vines per hectare. A small section is planted to 22,600 vines per hectare. This is very intensive (vines, materials and labour as well as some new equipment required) however we have high hopes for the specific site itself as well as the planning and work going into it. Time, a long time, will tell!
The season starts off after a very dry winter which did not see any water run off in to the dams. Which is obviously a concern however well timed rain during the season will be a welcome mitigation to this problem. Pleasingly, the soil moistures are holding up very well and the composting work done in winter as well as the undervine cultivation sees the soil looking very healthy.