DecemberDecember is the month of flowering and it's a delight to walk in the vineyards smelling the sweet aroma of the vine flowers. Fingers are crossed for warm and stable weather to ensure a successful flowering and fruit set. The cellar door is filled with the smell of blossom, this time from the lavender in front of the winery coming into flower. Santa pays a visit, but time off and relaxing is normally short as the vines, rather unhelpfully, forget to stop developing. Shoot growth is rapid and the seemingly never ending task of tucking and shoot positioning is critical at this time. It must be nice having a northern hemisphere growing season that fits so much better with the holiday season.
The cover crop paddocks will need to be harvested and made in to baleage and hay for the compost and also winter feed for the stock. At last we are beginning to harvest some summer vegetables. The tomatoes in our poly tunnel are starting to produce and pea shoots are popping up between alternate rows of vines and are a delicious addition to salads.
With the warming summer temperatures, most of the Pinot Noir barrel lots and Chardonnays are finishing their malolactic fermentations. It's only after this softening of acidity and the accompanying aroma and flavour transformation, do we finally get a more accurate picture of the character of the vintage. Early indications are looking very promising indeed.