Grapevine Archive for verdelho
Ben Glaetzer, director and chief winemaker of Heartland and Stickleback wines, updates members on news from the Barossa in this, his third posting from Down Under.
Ben Glaetzer, 17th January 2011
Australia is renowned as the continent of droughts and flooding rains (a phrase coined from the iconic Australian poem “My Country” by Dorothea McKellar.
The end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 have proved just that. As I’m sure has been on the news in the UK, much of our northern state of Queensland is underwater, river heights in excess of 20 metres up from a pool level of less than three. Crops decimated, table grapes washed away and a devastating time for more than 800,000 Australians. This water will make its way into the Murray-Darling river system over the next couple of months, the residents downstream are already preparing for floods. It’s quite a turn-around from last year when the river was so dry that one could literally walk across the Murray at its widest point.
Areas such as Langhorne Creek have been regenerated with the fresh water, the water tables are rising and the groundwater is being recharged.
All vineyards have now set fruit and overall crops are again below average in most districts. Cabernet sauvignon is in demand again this year which will give hope to some grapegrowers who’ve been unable to sell both cabernet and chardonnay for the last few years.
Here in the Barossa the weather has been decidedly muggy and warm, the humidity caused by the heavy moisture content over our northern states channelling down south. This has meant that the region has been on downy mildew alert and most growers have been vigilant with their canopy care.
We’ll commence vintage in about three weeks, kicking off with some crisp and zesty verdelho and semillon from the Limestone Coast for Heartland Stickleback and from there it’ll be full swing until the middle of May. Between now and then I’ll be spending most daylight hours in the vineyards and talking with our grapegrowers. Attention to detail is the key for this time of year, making sure crops are balanced, dropping fruit onto the ground on unbalanced vines and ensuring healthy canopies to protect against sunburn.
To top it all off my wife, Lucy, is expecting our first child….the due date was in fact 11th January. When the baby arrives it had better get used to sitting in a Ute and touring vineyards!