Vineyard Report Spring 2022
As the crisp, cold mornings of winter fade away, the grape vines at Mount Pleasant are beginning to stir into Spring. They have been re-shaped and fed through Winter in the hope of fruitful growth in the season ahead. Fertilizer and gypsum have been spread across all vineyards and vine cuttings mulched with the aim of giving back to the land we take much from. Trellising, the framework upon which a vine crawls, has been repaired in preparation of shoot growth. And it’s these shoots, from the vine buds that we retained during pruning, that are now emerging as the Spring sunshine warms the earth and air.
As we move into the growing season, the vineyard teams focus turns to ensuring vine health. We aim to achieve this through various means that are all dependent upon the weather. The weather is the great determiner of the success of a vintage. Forecasts suggest that we are expected to have another wet spring/early summer on the East Coast of Australia, presenting our third ‘La Nina’ season in a row. High rainfall paired with warm/hot air temperatures make for high humidity. It’s this humidity that can cause issues with pest and disease. Successful vineyard management is best assessed during the difficult years. There are ways and means available to us as vineyard workers to ameliorate these issues. When you’re on the brink of a potentially difficult growing season you must plan for increases in manual canopy management and the utilisation of more efficient canopy sprays. The view needs to be on less, but more effective tractor passes to limit the risk of creating inaccessible vineyards.
On a more optimistic note, high rainfall can alleviate issues that we may deal with in other, less wet, seasons. The need for drip irrigation, let alone any irrigation, decreases. The soil profiles across all company vineyards are currently full. Hydric soils in the early stages of the growth season give the final yield of the vines a great lift. It also makes for easy planting of vines, so long as it’s not excessively wet. A damp soil is conducive to successful planting outcomes as the ground is pliable and pores are filled with water, more favourable to young vine roots than excessive air. Water is the key to life and is the major limiting factor in a vine’s annual cycle.
We look forward to reporting positive news to you all from the growing season shortly.
Nick, Belinda, Sue, Jason, Ken and Shaun
Mount Pleasant Vineyard Team