Anyone who has looked out their window in the last few weeks will not be surprised to hear we are having a “wet spring”. What does this mean the island’s main export? We asked some viticulturalists to explain what a wet spring means for wine production.
The Australian Institute of Wine says high levels of rain during winter and spring can be beneficial for soil moisture levels but can make it difficult to conduct regular maintenance such as spraying. Spraying is an important aspect in fighting any potential disease in the grapes. Heinrich Storm, head winemaker and vineyard manager at Goldie Estate, says the biggest challenge is getting access to the vineyards to ensure this work is completed. “There has been a lot of humidity and moisture this season. A spray window can go from 7-14 days. If you miss a spray it can lead to disease, so you have to be on top of spraying.”
A lot of equipment can pose health and safety risks in these conditions, particularly if the ground is impacted. Heinrich says “We are trying to decrease compaction. Every time it rains it leaves lots of wheel ruts.” This can usually be done by avoiding field operations when the ground is wet but is slightly more complex during prolonged torrential rain.
But these trying seasons for wine growers can produce great wine, Heinrich says. “When you know everything is not ideal you pay more attention and are more selective. As a result there is more quality control. There is a big reward at the end of it all.” At Goldies the grapes are still flowering at the moment and this part of the season determines the volume of the grapes. The quality of the grapes will be determined at a later date. • Olivia Walker
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