28 Sep Spring has Sprung
In spring each year our vines awaken from their winter dormancy to sprout new shoots. It is a time when viticulturists and winemakers start biting their nails as weather is our frenemy at this time of year. Spring frosts can damage the young, emerging leaves killing off the new growth. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are early bursting varieties which means they are more at risk with early spring frosts.
As the flowers start to emerge, rain and wind can impact the efficacy of the flowering and the pollination of the flowers. This can result in bunches with small and large grapes, a condition known as millerandage in French and “Hen and Chicken” in English. The big berries have been fertilised and have pips and sugar but the little berries are sour and seedless. This uneven ripeness means the resulting wine may have more unripe flavours.
Warm weather without rain is ideal. Usually the soils are full of water from winter rains so don’t need any extra. Some of you may recall the disastrous floods around Nagambie, Heathcote and Rutherglen in October 2022. Vines weren’t hugely damaged but grapegrowers had to wait for the water to recede and the soil to dry out before they could get into their vineyards. Rain at this time of year can also increase disease pressure. It’s a lot.
So far in the Yarra Valley, things are looking good. We have avoided spring frosts and while there has been a bit of rain it has occurred before the flowering process. The warm weather in the last week of September sped the growth of the shoots up which means the Valley is looking very green at the moment.
In time for spring, our 2022 True Colours Sauvignon Blanc is shining. (By the way, Vintage 2023 will be released soon, so stay tuned!) The timing couldn’t be better as we shift our drinking from warmth inducing reds to summer celebrating whites. Why not enjoy the start of daylight savings by getting a bottle now?
– Meg Brodtmann MW