Things are finally happening in the Barossa vineyards, after a rather slow start to the season. Lots of rain and cloud cover (ie not much sunshine) during winter and spring, followed by another very mild summer (with only a few minor heat spikes) has put ripening behind this year, but the grapes have pretty well coloured up now and we expect to start picking Shiraz around mid to late March.
The vines have big ‘engines’ this year thanks to all the moisture in the soils, so we’ve had to temper the canopy growth by leaving a few weeds around to suck up some of the water, rather than having it pump up the grapes too much. We also need to be mindful that the canopies don’t over-shade the fruit so we can get it ripe without any green characters. We’re hopeful the vines will take care of this themselves as we go through a few warm days this week and they lose some of their basal leaves (the leaves closest to the centre of the vine) that will help open up the canopy.
The vines have big ‘engines’ this year thanks to all the moisture in the soils.
But all-in-all, a well-managed, long slow ripening season can be ideal for producing super-dooper fruit. Cooler, extended ripening generally equates with intensity of flavour, while also giving refinement and elegance in structure. So we’re feeling optimistic and fingers are firmly crossed for a cracker vintage.
I’ll keep you posted as things develop further.