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Jules, Brock and Allister checking ferments
As the seasons have warmed, compressed vintages with all varieties and blocks ripening together have become increasingly common. However at this point of vintage 2021, there is a spread of different growth stages pointing to a nicely spread-out vintage.
The weather this summer has been extraordinarily gentle. With only a couple of days pushing 40°C, water held in the soil has declined gently, enabling us to be precise and timely with irrigations. When the weather does get hot we usually start the day off early to get short irrigations onto the vines. As the day warms up, the vines close their stomata which means they are no longer able to take up water.
By irrigating early in the day and doing short cycles we let the vines take up water to replenish themselves from any heat the day before. This helps us be more efficient as we lose so much less to evaporation and every drop helps the vines along.
The soils are now looking dry which coincided well with veraison; the timing is perfect to keep berry size compact to make more flavourful wines.
The early signs for vintage are optimistic. In early February during veraison, the berries were already flavourful and we expect mild conditions to continue through harvest. No promises on anything though, there is still so much that can change and at this point we are largely at nature’s mercy.
Vintage 2021 began on 12 February, with the first white grapes coming into the winery. In the last week of February we began picking Shiraz at Greenock and Nuriootpa, along with our Chardonnay from Greenock.
Our Craneford vineyard is lagging behind the Barossa Valley sites, which may test our nerve on waiting to pick that Cabernet before autumn rains (hopefully) arrive!
Story from our newsletter, the Elderton Buzz – March 2021 edition
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