Whew! Mudgee drew a collective sigh of relief as we approach the end of November 2014 with vineyards building canopy well … no frost damage anywhere, and apart from the odd caterpillar, no lurking problems out there.
What a difference from late spring last year, where by now we (at least di Lusso Estate) had lost 80% of our crop.
It’s dry and dry however – right now we’re 25% off our average rainfall for the year. Well and truly el nino territory. But to look on the bright side, we’ve been practically organic so far this season … no downy mildew, no botrytis, consistent fruit set so far, and our underground water remains sweet.
So for a few of us, it’s about being out early, going from vine to vine plucking unwanted shoots and suckers throughout the vineyard, inter-planting baby vines where needed, preparing for a grafting program later this month. Then we escape into the winery to escape the heat of a very fierce spring to ‘do admin’ before heading back into the fields towards sunset. No peace for the wicked in what is a seven day, twelve hour week this time of year!
Although olives are not a major part of our business, at this early stage it looks like we’ll be getting our biggest crop for more than five years (but I hasten to add that fruit set has only just begun).
And my friends the figs – which suffered cruelly last year from frost – are showing much better form following a harder than usual pruning.
In summary…so far so good for vintage 2015.