Four days might be the difference between what would have been a low-yield, average wine vintage and what could be something quite special.
With the 2019 harvest fast approaching, Leogate Estate Wines senior winemaker Mark Woods said the vineyard was in a good position thanks to four straight days of thunderstorms back in December.
“I feel those four afternoon storms were ideal for our vineyard,” he said. “It was very humid through the day then rained in the afternoon.
“It filled our dams and rainwater tanks and gave us great soil moisture at the right time.
“We had 125mm of rain across the month.
“I think we would have struggled for yield and a healthy canopy otherwise.”
Mr Woods said the vineyard had not received any hail in the lead up to the impending harvest, and the vines had shown no signs of pests or disease.
“We’ve got very healthy canopies which shades the fruit from the hot sun, “ he said. “And the fruit looks good.”
But with picking still a week or two away, the winemaker didn’t want to get too far ahead of himself.
“We’re very pleased so far,” he said. “If the weather stays on our side for the next four to six weeks, we should have another great quality harvest with an average yield.”
Early testing has started on the whites with the reds to follow in coming weeks.
Mr Woods expected picking to start on the whites sometime between next Tuesday and Sunday.
Vintage over at Keith Tulloch Wines is expected to start a little later than usual due to a lack of soil moisture at the start of the season.
But chief winemaker and managing director Keith Tulloch said the vines were looking “beautiful” at this stage of the process, about a week out from picking.
And after back-to-back stellar vintages in 2017 and 2018, Mr Tulloch said the current conditions pointed towards another top quality harvest.
“We’re hoping for the trifecta,” he said.
“We’re wonderfully on track for good yields and high quality fruit.”
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