One of the many hats we wear as winegrowers, winemakers and wine sellers is that of the farmer, or to be a little bit fancy, Viticulturists.
I’ve always said that I have a fair amount of Viti but not enough Culture.
Having worked in that role for the last two decades, where did that time go? There has been significant changes in the vineyard over that time. A lot of the changes have been due to consistently warmer vintages.
Vineyard practices, therefore, have needed to be rethought, adjusted and changed where possible.
Some of these changes include:
- higher water usage for irrigation, if more water is available
- altered canopy management – if rows run north/south, the western side of the canopy can be shaded more by not lifting the foliage wires to the highest point
- applying mulch in the under vine area. This keeps the soil cooler for longer, and also reduces the rate of water evaporation from the soil
- pulling out grape varieties that are not suited to the warmer conditions
- planting grape varieties that are more suited to the warmer conditions
- changing the vine rows orientation when planting new blocks to minimise the sometimes harsh afternoon summer sun on the ripening bunches
New wine varieties for our region
Pinot Noir is definitely a variety that is not suited to our warming climate. Chardonnay is also borderline, depending on the season. Extra shading in the canopy helps to prevent potential sunburn.
There are other varieties that are not best suited to a warming climate in this region but can produce good wine. It’s just that they will not achieve a top quality product in some vintages. With the climate producing more above average warm years the best conditions for those varieties are reducing in number.
Some Spanish and Italian varieties may be better suited to our region. White varieties like Fiano and Greco/Greco di tufo and reds Grenache, Aglianico and Nero di Avola are some which have good prospects.
If we had the resources that is where we would be heading. Still looking for that rich uncle 😊
Why go to all that trouble and expense?
The ultimate aim of who we are as a small producer is to grow the best quality wine grapes which in turn will produce the best quality wine, unless we bugger it up in the winery!