It is gloriously sunny and warm outside today and with most of our vineyard through veraison it is starting to feel like vintage is just around the corner. We have experienced a couple of millimetres of rain recently, which has given the vines a welcome drink as it has been close to two months since our last rain event. The sprayers have been washed down and put away for the season, the nets are on and the garden has been planted out to provide us with some lovely fresh food for the vintage period. The vineyard team have worked their hearts out this growing season and it shows with how good the vineyard looks.
The 2020 growing season started off with a hiss and a roar, with early budburst across all of the blocks at Raupo. With a fairly wet winter behind us there was plenty of early growth. Cover crops were sown in early Spring with a mix of clovers, wild flowers and tap root species helping to improve the soil structure and increase organic matter. A flowering cover crop mix was also planted every 10 rows to provide an ecosystem for beneficial insects. The bees loved the sunflowers when they bloomed and also provided a beautiful burst of colour.
We had a stable spring season with flowering occurring in early December for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. There was fantastic fruit set with high berry counts on all of these varieties this year with fewer, but slightly larger bunches compared to 2019. Our Sauvignon Blanc plots are all looking good with smaller bunches this year, due to a significant rain event in December that affected flowering.
A slightly cooler start to summer slowed down the vine growth a touch, and we are now looking at a normal start to vintage that will likely kick off around mid-March.
Disease pressure was evident around the region this year. With careful management, we are now through the growing season with very low incidence. This is a testament to the work of Joao and his team with the canopy and vineyard management. One of the more exciting developments for the team was the conversion of an old sprayer to apply our biodynamic preparations. This has been a fantastic addition and allowed us to effectively apply the biodynamic 501 preparation around the entire property.