10.53am, Wednesday July 4th, Yalumba Clocktower, Eden Valley Road, Angaston, SA
Morning, folks, and welcome to a second wave of winter proper. On Monday morning early it was cold, dark and wet, but lo and behold – there were some hardy souls up in a hot air balloon doing the scenic flight, drifting through the low cloud and walls of drizzle! I’d hazard a guess and say that there wouldn’t have been the normal glass of chilled sparkling when the basket touched down – more a nice solid tumbler of fortified – tawny, tokay, muscat – anything warm to cut through the damp! Then yesterday morning early it was clear as a bell and Jack Frost had paid a visit – and we had minus 2 degrees C as a chilly start to the day. This morning it may as well have been London with its best pea soup ‘can’t see the other side of the road’ fog! This is the view from the hill looking down into the Barossa at about 7.15am this morning – and there’s a vineyard on that slope to the left of the photograph.
Actually, the fogs burnt off now and there’s some pretty ominous purple storm clouds coming in from the southwest. We may even be in for ‘Siebenschlafer’. What’s this? It’s an old Barossa Deutsch ( a term that describes longstanding Barossa traditions that have some base way back in the Silesian origins of the Valley, but tempered by being here locally for a couple of hundred years) term that has everyone tangled up with vines and wines watching the weather on whatever day June 27th falls. According to the old folk tale, if it rains on June 27th, then there will be rain every day for seven weeks – which in our part of the world is a really good thing! It gives the vines a massive drink and sets them up well for the next season, tops up the underground aquifers, dams, rainwater tanks, flushes the creeks and puts everyone in a good mood! Especially the firewood contractors because most folk stay indoors staying cosy by the fire. Most of the winery cellar doors have open fires or wood stoves – it’s a good time to visit.
So Siebenschlafer, which literally translates to ‘seven sleepers’, is a rare thing, but it did rain late that evening last week – in Angaston at least – chased by torrential rain and the odd bit of hail for four days across the weekend, showers and drizzle Monday, drizzle late last night, and if the clouds open today – there’s the first week of 7 delivered. I’ll let you know how it progresses. I’ve not seen the true Siebenschlafer happen in my time here in the Barossa … but would love to.
PS Maybe there’s one group of folks who won’t be thrilled – the crews of pruners that are still working flat out around the Barossa to get the vineyards set up well before bud burst in spring.