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Archive for October, 2011

Throughout spring, grape growers nervously monitor weather conditions; searching for any sign of danger from their common enemy; the spring frost.   Frosts not only pose a risk to the current season’s crop, but due to the perennial nature of grapevines, can also influence the productivity of vines for several seasons into the future!   You may be wondering what frost damage does to grapevines? Well, simply put, damage occurs when dense cold air flows into low lying areas of the vineyard.  The cold temperatures freeze the liquid inside the plant cells.  As the frozen liquid expands, it ruptures the cell walls resulting in tissue damage to the new shoots, buds, leaves and sometimes even the vascular tissue of the vine. A frost can range in severity depending on day and night temperatures, humidity, cloud cover and the temperature of the soil in the vineyard.

Our vineyard team employs scientifically-proven preventative measures to minimise the frost risk, such as pruning late in the season, mulching to keep the warmth in the soil and keeping the growth under the vines under control.  Despite this, however, we cannot always protect our precious vines from the ravages of frost damage.  And so it was that in the last week of September, the climatic forces conspired to produce conditions perfect for frost to occur.  Ken Noack, our vineyard manager, reported the sad news that there had been some minor damage to a small section of our Shiraz and Chardonnay on the estate.  Whilst this will not prove devastating with respect to our 2012 harvest, it’s still heartbreaking. Our vines are nurtured from the time they are small rootlings and any damage to them causes angst for us all. Each season we sweat through this time of potential danger but because of how strongly we believe in the philosophy of estate grown and bottled, we wouldn’t have it any other way.  After the first week in November; when the risk of frost is minimal, we will simply enjoy Christmas and then get on with the business of the 2012 harvest – our 40th one!.

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