It’s been some time since I updated the Wombat Crossing Vineyard diary, so here is the Vintage 2017 update. I’m sitting in the office in Pokolbin with the air conditioningContinue
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE VINEYARD AND THE WINERY?
Each year the vines go through several phases, from bare stems to bud burst (in spring) to flowering, which leads to the set of tiny grape bunches, through their growth and the maturing of the grape bunches on the vines.
As the vines develop, we apply a minimalistic and organic-centric program of various sprays to the leaves to protect the vine from pests or diseases during the growing season. The vines are also fertilised by foliar sprays and through the drip irrigation system. The drip irrigation system is also used (depending on the weather) to supplement natural rain in order to manage the vines growth and health.
At Wombat Crossing Vineyard, we aim to restrict the yield to 3.6 to 4.8 Tonnes of grapes per hectare, to improve fruit quality and help with earlier ripening. During winter we prune, then thin bunches and manage foliage to acheive this objective during the latter stages of the year.
From November the grape bunches continue to develop until they go through veraison (turning from green to a golden green colour for the Semillon and Chardonnay vines, or red for Shiraz) in late December or early January. The sugar and flavour of the grapes gradually increases as the summer sun provides the energy for the leaves to ripen the grapes. When the flavour reaches its optimum, and the sugar levels reach about 10% (Semillon), 12.5% (Chardonnay) and 13.5% (Shiraz) the grapes are ready to be picked.
Vintage refers to the time of the year when the grapes are picked in the vineyard. You see large groups of pickers and mechanical harvesters at work in the early morning or late during the night. Vintage dates are also used to differentiate each year’s production of wine. Vintage in the Hunter Valley usually begins around mid January, and is almost always over by late February. Each vintage season is very different, depending on the amount of rain, wind, sunshine and heat, pests and other natural occurrences or calamities that affect our property.