Here at Red Hill Estate we’ve got “the best view of any vineyard in the world” according to Ian Sutton, the former CEO of the Australian Winemakers Federation. There is absolutely nothing like the view over our vineyard during spring, summer, or even as the autumn leaves turn…but what about the winter months? The lush green canopies and bursting bunches of berries have given way to what look to be barren vines.
But you see its not just the winemakers busy at work right now. Coming in to June we’re seeing the last leaves falling in the vineyard as they manufacture and store their last carbohydrates for the winter rest period. While it may look like the vine is barren as it lies dormant over winter, it’s actually already preparing for the next season. Pruning will commence in the coming weeks with Mark, Shane & the team ensuring that every vine receiving individual treatment to ensure a consistent crop for next season.
Careful pruning needs to take place during the winter months to ensure the right amount of buds remain on the vine. This is imperative so that when spring arrives, there aren’t too many shoots producing a larger canopy of leaves or more fruit than is desired by the winemakers. Too much fruit on a vine could result in the nutrients being spread over too many bunches – giving us a poor fruit quality, or a poor yield, or both. Likewise, if the vines are hard at work producing leaves for a fuller canopy, it may mean that an insufficient level of nutrients are making their way to the grapes on that same vine (a large sprawling canopy may provide too much shade, meaning the berries won’t ripen). Which means less wine for both you and me!
So, while it may seem like vintage is the most vital time in a vineyard the vine management, pruning and the impact of the weather in the winter months makes for a successful harvest in the summer...and a ripper of a Red Hill Estate wine in your glass.