There were a few tractors bogged to their axels last spring… some were abandoned until December. I managed to conduct all vineyard operations without getting bogged but left some quite deep tractor tyre ruts turning around in the headland on the low end of the vineyard.
Viticulturists all remember the stunted growth from the lack of rain in 2020… that wasn’t a problem this year.
Fortunately, the rain was below average December through February and although the temperature was a bit lower than normal during these three months the vines did a little catching up.
Overall, it was a cool season and harvest was generally delayed by about three weeks. This worked in favour of the short and medium season vines but not so good for late ripening reds.
In a normal year the rain in March would have made it a field day for fungus but this year the late ripening meant there wasn’t as much sugar for the hungry fungus to feed on. However, April was a bit more challenging with double the long-term average rain. But, thanks to the demand from Organic and Bio-dynamic growers the chemical companies have released a portfolio of competing fungus that we are able to spray on the grapes which can out compete the nasty fungus endemic to the vineyard.
Monthly temperatures were a bit cooler
These charts show that the maximum temperatures were generally less than average. Whilst the minimum temperatures were considerably less for most of the season.
Most of the crop development occurs in the December through March period. So, coolness during this time causes the most delays.
Patina was fortunate in that we didn’t get frost damage and managed to escape the hail that devastated a number of Orange vineyards.
Cool ripening is good for flavour so expect some excellent whites and Pinot Noir from 2023.