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 help keep the air circulating below the shoots to reduce frost risk.
The 2015 vintage Rieslings are released at the end of the month along with the 2014 Chardonnay Block 2 and 2014 Calvert and Block 5 Pinot Noirs. The malolactics in the 2015’s are starting naturally in the warming cellars and apart from checking for popped bungs, it is usually a very quiet period in the winery. However, the sounds of excavators and concrete trucks will continue throughout the month with the construction of a new Pinot Noir barrel cellar being buried into the hillside by the winery. Exciting times!