With the warming soil and air temperatures, the vines are finally bursting out in bud after their dormant period over the long cold winter. By mid-month, the vine rows will be a sea of green with the emerging shoots and leaves. Gareth and his vineyard team are on high alert with the tender new growth being particularly vulnerable to damage from frost. Frost protection systems are maintained to be ready and reliable in order to protect the vines. Trying to service broken gear at 4am in pitch darkness and freezing conditions is not something anybody does happily. Depending upon the ground cover growth, a pass with the under-vine weeder may be required to keep the air circulating below the shoots to reduce frost risk.
In the hills we can hear the sound of goat kids bleating to their mothers. Danny is up there constantly, looking for any waifs and strays that will need to come down to the winery for hand rearing. We have fantastic sprouting kale shoots for lunch from the vine mid-rows, and our herb and vegetable garden is starting to come alive.
The 2014 vintage Rieslings are released at the end of the month along with the 2013 Chardonnay Block 2 and 2013 Calvert and Block 5 Pinot Noirs. The malolactics in the 2014’s are starting naturally in the warming cellars and apart from checking for popped bungs, it is a very quiet period in the winery.