by Conrad Pohlinger
Harvest 2022 is all wrapped up and it has been an exceptional year for the vineyards. Picking windows were wide and there was no adverse weather throughout the harvest period.
We were affected by a late hail and deluge at Greenock just a couple of weeks before harvest began, little crop was lost and we were fortuitous not to have disease take off. The dry conditions following stopped botrytis taking hold so we were able to harvest clean, delicious fruit from all three sites.
The kindness of the past two seasons has put the vineyards of Barossa in the best health they have been for several years. Having a long post-harvest period has further helped this- vines take up substantial nutrients after being picked, so they should have ample stores to thrive when the weather harshens up again and they will struggle to take up nutrients.
Even being a wetter year, the straw mulch we spread at Greenock has been immense at building vine health on those blocks- so we will aggressively expand this program.
With harvest complete, it was a short week or two to catch our breath before moving straight into preparations for next year: soil working, cover crop seeding, pruning and planning the next season. We decided to expand the area of cover crops dedicated to permanent swards, as opposed to annual seeding. This will help to build up more organic matter in the mid-row, which is extremely valuable in holding water and nutrients for vines to access later into spring. The species selection for this is important as the right plants will control problematic weeds and provide nutrition so we don’t need to apply synthetic fertilizer.
The natives we planted a year ago are mostly thriving. Unfortunately we lost a couple which ended up underwater from run off to the disused dam – the first time I have seen water in that dam since I started 3 years ago, so a pleasant problem to be having!
The plants at Nuriootpa are also doing well and will greatly help diversify the vineyard. The seedlings for this year are ready to go and will give us a nice size area of native vegetation as a habitat for a range of beneficial insects, birds and bats.
’til the next update,