September 2010 is now officially the wettest September in the country’s recorded weather history. This unusal amount of rainfall will have wide-ranging effects on the nation’s vineyards.
In Canberra we watch the rain gauges anxiously all through winter to ensure sufficient sub-soil moisture to allow the vines to bud-burst with vigour and enthusiasm for the growing season ahead. We then judiciously irrigate the vines to keep the fruit on target for our planned wine styles. This year the strategy will be different with soil moisture much greater than we have been used to. Depending on the amount of sunlight in the months ahead we will be continuously pruning and shaping the canopy and thinning out shoots and berries to ensure we maintain maximum flavour in the grapes.
In our Hunter Valley vineyard it’s quite a different scenario. Our hillside Semmillon vineyard is unirrigated and traditionally the success of the crop is heavily dependant on rains during the growing season, as well as a substantial winter sub-soil base. Early indications (Hunter Valley vineyards are up to a month earlier in their growing cycle than Canberra District vineyards) is that we could have a fabulous crop this vintage, providing us with another award-winning single vineyard Semillon this season.