Saturday, December 30, 2006

This week: 29th. Dec.

Weather Report Week Ending 29/12/06
Maximum Temperature for the week 28C (82F) on Fri.
Minimum Temperature for the week 4.6C (40F) on Tue.
Rainfall for the Week 1.6mm (4 points) 2 days of rain.
Weather data thanks to BOM & Nuriootpa Viticulture Research Centre.

A rather cool week. Should have been a good week for flavour development. Just a small amount of rain with 2 nights of very spectacular thunderstorms (picture above). I found the first signs of verasion this week - the picture is of some Pinot Noir just starting to change colour.

This week in the vineyard:
I have now completed our last (I hope) spray for the season. We will probably begin to sample some of our early varieties for maturity in this coming week. Harvest will be early this year - the earliest we have ever picked here is 31st Jan. we have the potential to beat that this year!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

This week: 22nd. Dec.

Weather Report Week Ending 22/12/06
Maximum Temperature for the week 35.1C (95F) on Wed.
Minimum Temperature for the week 9.2C (49F) on Sat.
Rainfall for the Week 14.4mm (41 points) 1 day of rain.
Weather data thanks to BOM & Nuriootpa Viticulture Research Centre.

Well some more rain for us this week. All of the rain fell over an 18 hour period on Thurs. night/ Fri. morning. Any rain we get from now on will be a problem for us as we are about to enter withholding periods on most of the chemicals we use to protect our vineyard from disease (mainly Downy and Powdery mildew). I was planning to put a protectant spray (Sulphur and either Copper or Mancozeb) out between Christmas and New year, however due to the rain we had last week I will now have to add an eradicant chemical (probably Metalaxyl), to eliminate any disease we may have picked up.

This week in the vineyard:
The sprayer is now ready to go on Boxing day (providing the weather is suitable). We spent some of last week getting ready for the rain, cleaning out gutters and fixing up down pipes etc. to catch all the water we could, our tanks are beginning to get fairly low! Our spray shed has large tanks (approx. 75,000 Litres), we use nearly all rain water to do our spraying - I think I will just have enough water for this next spray and then they will be empty. If we need to do another spray I will probably need to use mains water.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

This week: 15th. Dec.

Weather Report Week Ending 15/12/06
Maximum Temperature for the week 41.2C (106F) on Sat.
Minimum Temperature for the week 7.0C (44F) on Tue.
Rainfall for the Week 2.2mm (7 points) 2 days of rain.
Weather data thanks to BOM & Nuriootpa Viticulture Research Centre.

Saturday was a real scorcher here in the Barossa. Only 0.6 of a degree below our hottest recorded December day (41.8C 30th Dec 2005). There are some signs of sunburn showing up - but not as bad as I was expecting. The automatic weather station at Nuriootpa went down for a couple of days this week, but I think the figures above are accurate.

This week in the vineyard:
This week I finally finished spraying weeds. Next week I will be getting the sprayer ready for our final spray this season - only our 4th spray, nearly half of what we normally put out. There just hasn't been the conditions for disease this year. Still in these difficult times, every dollar we can save helps us stay in business that little bit longer. My staff have all knocked off for the Christmas holidays so there will not be a lot happening until the New Year in our vineyard.

Monday, December 11, 2006


After a collaborative effort by a special Steering Committee of Barossa growers and winemakers covering most of this year, the final draft of the Barossa Wine Industry Management Plan has been released for industry consultation. The Plan aims to redress the current problems of oversupply of grapes and wine and low profitability within the wine industry and secure the future of our industry for future generations.

Speaking following the release, Steering Committee secretary Bob Taplin said that the Plan, if implemented, will affect every single winegrape grower within the Barossa region and every purchaser of Barossa grapes. “Every grower and winemaker should therefore make an effort to study the draft Plan and try to see how the Plan can help our industry develop,” Mr. Taplin said. “The ground work has been done but wider involvement from industry is required before decisions need to be made.”

Interested growers and winemakers can access the Plan via the website for the Barossa & Light Regional Development Board at (under the heading “Wine Industry”). They can also contact members of the Steering Committee for details, including details of a number of special information meetings that will held in the second week of January.

Steering Committee members include (in alphabetical order) Chris Canute, Paul Clancy, Jaysen Collins, John Curnow, Rob Gibson, John Hahn, Adrian Hoffmann, Keith Hoffmann, Geoff Knights, James Lindner, Anne Moroney, Matthew Munzberg, Leo Pech, James Rosenzweig, Ed Schild, Bob Taplin and Scott Tolhurst.

A public meeting, when growers and winemakers will be invited to decide on whether to adopt the Plan or not, has been tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, January 30.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

This week: 8th. Dec.

Weather Report Week Ending 8/12/06

Maximum Temperature for the week 38.8C (102F) on Fri.
Minimum Temperature for the week 4.1C (39F) on Sun.
Rainfall for the Week 0.0mm (0 points) 0 days of rain.
Weather data thanks to BOM & Nuriootpa Viticulture Research Centre.

Another typical summer week here in the Barossa. No rain and warm to hot conditions all week. Not much else to say this week - no signs of verasion yet.

This week in the vineyard:
Well I passed our quality assurance audit this week without any trouble. We have been continuing to put growguards on our grafted Sauv. Blanc. The photo shows some of these tubes on the vines. We have had them made small enough so that they will not flap in the wind. They also do not go all the way to the ground, we have done this to encourage air flow so the vines will not get too hot. To our knowledge no one else has tried this in grafted vines, I will keep you up to date on how it all goes. We are starting to think about timing of fungicide sprays now, to avoid withholding periods, depending on rain in the next week or so, we may only put our next spray out between Christmas and new year. If we can do this that would probably be our last spay this vintage.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

This week: 1st. Dec.

Weather Report Week Ending 1/12/06

Maximum Temperature for the week 39.0C (102F) on Thur.
Minimum Temperature for the week 10.8C (51F) on Wed.
Rainfall for the Week 0.2mm (1 point) 1 day of rain.
Weather data thanks to BOM & Nuriootpa Viticulture Research Centre.

Another hot dry week here in the Barossa Valley. We have now given most of our vineyard a drink. It is just so very dry this year, we don't normally start watering before Christmas. I have been going through some of the weather data for the Barossa, we are currently 165mm (472 points) of rainfall below our average to the end of November. November is the month that new wood is initiated for the next growing season - high temperatures help initiate more shoots, after a cool start to Nov. we finished the month 2.4c warmer than the average. I don't know what impact this will have on next growing season, as the frost we suffered will reduce some fruitfulness. A lot depends on our winter rainfall. But enough about next season, let's get this one in first. Here are some predictions for this vintage in the Barossa - we will have major reductions in tonnes picked overall across most varieties. Probably no grapes left unpicked on any Barossa vines this year. I would expect most older Shiraz will be well down on crop, so quality could be quite good. Whites will also suffer a little from sunburn as canopies are quite small with more fruit exposure than we would like to see. We have tried to combat this problem in our vineyard by adding catch wires to a lot of our Riesling and Sauv. Blanc. this year.

This week in the vineyard:
We continue to spot spray summer weeds. We are about to start a trial of some growguards to protect from wind damage the Sav. Blanc we topgrafted last month . We have had some growguards made this week and will be putting them out this week, I'll include a photo next week. I have also spent time this week getting ready for a quality assurance audit that we need to undertake every second year, I will let you know if we passed next week (not really expecting any problems).