Freezing in The Barossa – Literally!

10.15am, Tuesday 12th July, Heggies Vineyard, Eden Valley
It’s icy out in the vineyard today, folks, but at least there’s not that gale coming up off the South Pole adding wind chill to an already freezing situation. And it’s not raining, so it’s possible to get a fire going to re-liquify the blood every now and then whilst the pruning goes on and on – and it actually throws some serious heat!

A few almond trees around the Eden Valley and Barossa Floor are starting to poke out some blosoms, but I think they’re a wee bit early yet. The ice in the air today might just get them to rethink things and pull back like a sea anemone – just for a bit longer. And we don’t want the vines pushing out their shoots for a good while yet, as there’s definitely more frost to come!

As far as our pruning situation goes, we’re nearly finished at Pewsey Vale and Heggies, then there’s everything around Yalumba itself to do. Here I’ve got some before and after shots of the old vines up on top of Heggies.

Basically the idea is to take off the ‘skeleton’ of this last vinatge’s canopy, and leave the amount of buds on the vine that will determine the next – or 2012 – vintage’s crop load. The other aim is to distribute the canopy and fruit load evenly so that the fruit ripens evenly and that we have the balance right between the canopy, which makes all the goodies, and the bunch number, which stores all the goodies. Here’s how that works:

This is the vineyard row before being pruned …

Vine row before pruning

… and this is the same section after. You can see the shape and structure being set up for the 2012 vintage …

Vine row after pruning

… and here is a closeup look at the two bud ‘spurs’ left behind. Next vintage’s fruit-bearing canes will shoot from those.

The bud spurs left behind

In the front part of the Heggies vineyard are some old riesling vines that have been pruned onto a single wire …

Pruning complete

… again I’ve got a close up showing the spurs left behind that determine the next vintage’s crop load.

Spurs left for the 2012 vintage

That’s pruning folks, and there’s a heap more to get done before budburst signals the start of the new season. Then the trick is to have budburst happen safely and to get those new shoots nice and strong and solid without being smacked around by late frosts.

You’re always at the mercy of the weather when you’re talking winegrowing, don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise!

Stay warm out there in the Hills folks!

2 responses to “Freezing in The Barossa – Literally!

  1. Hi Jane, this is Juan, we met at the signature tasting @ ‘Your Shout Liquor’ in Perth just a couple of weeks ago…
    As I promised I’m giving you an update on the Masterclass we held in Mandurah (Icons of Barossa).
    We had 13 wines on tasting, from YALUMBA we put up the Single Site vineyard Light Pass & The Octavius… You’ll be happy to know that both wines were the stand out of the tasting… Octavius was picked by most as the best wine in the tasting going against things like, ‘Command’, ‘E&E Black Pepper’ amongst others, however most people had never tried the S.S. L.Pass and that was a winner wine as far as quality and value for money…
    Again well done, I’ll try and keep updated on any other wines we have.
    Looking foward putting more YALUMBA wines on the wine club.
    Safe travels… Juan

  2. Thanks Juan – and an excellent showing for our shirazes , especially seeing as all your club tastings are done blind. I haven’t forgotten the replacement for the corked bottle either!! What we should try and do is line up a ‘Single Sites’ tour for your clum members next time they’re in the Barossa – that’s when it all really comes together and you can see why those wines have such a huge range of expression – but all shiraz! I’m actaully about to get on a plane for Perth now, to work at this weekend’s Good Food & Wine Show. If you’re there, come up to the Oxford Landing ‘boathouse’ as we’re working with a couple of magic chefs – Marian Grasby and matt Moran. Otherwise see ya somewhere down the track – hopefully in the Barossa. And thanks again for the support!!

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