On Wednesday the 4th of February, two hundred grapegrowers met at the Bocce club to discuss the state of the 2009 vintage and look at the effects of heat damage on the vines and on the market.
Hosted by Derek Cameron, chairman of the McLaren Vale Grape Growers Council, Derek was joined by Peter Hayes. Warren Randal, Adam Jacobs and Jim Zerella represented winemakers and fruit brokers respectively.
The take home messages from Derek were;
- Some vineyards should be abandoned this year because the fruit is damaged.
- There is still some good grapes, but it may take differential picking and care over the next two weeks to get the best out of the what remains.
- Growers need to support each other through these hard times. Help your mates and look out for their health.
Peter Hayes the current OIV President and wine industry consultant reported;
- In hot weather soil temperatures rise and kill roots in the top 30-40cm.
- On hot days the vapour pressure builds up inside the plant and stops photosynthesis. High temperatures inside the berries destroy enzymes and pathways that produce colour and flavour. It is expected that normal ripening will be affected and it is difficult to say how they will turn out.
- Moderate vigour vines, with moderate canopies and moderate crop loads fared best. Vines that had small canopies were affected the most severely. Also vines that are traditionally over watered did not fair very well.
- Mulching will be very important in future seasons.