Showing posts from March, 2010

Adelaide Hill Harvest - UPDATE 23/3/2010

The early ripening Shiraz blocks are being harvested this week in the Adelaide Hills. The lion’s share of Shiraz should come off this week or next.
The shower activity and cooler forecast for next week may speed the rate of shiraz intake. Blocks are clean and healthy. Leaf senescence is increasing in shiraz blocks (above). Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon canopies are holding onto their leaf well. These varieties will need these leaves to get them full ripe this season. This may take a further 2-3 weeks in the coolest sites.

Post Harvest Irrigation and Nutrition - What, why and when?

Summary from GWRDC research.
The importance of the post-harvest period is largely determined by climate, variety, yield, and management prior to harvest. Vines will tolerate a season or two with limited post-harvest irrigation, but productivity will eventually be reduced if this continues over many seasons. Although beyond the scope of this module, the importance of long term planning needs to be emphasised if water shortages are expected to continue. This includes understanding that cropping levels, together with effective salinity management, are two key factors in determining the sustainability of vines with reduced water supply.

Uptake of other minerals may be equally important during the post-harvest period, but relative to nitrogen, a lot less is known as to their role as reserves. The cycling of nutrients, and thus ability to store and remobilize again in spring, depends on their mobility within the plant. This is high for all the macronutrients, except calcium, which has low mob…

Powdery Mildew on bunch stalks - ID Photos

Above: Late season Powdery Mildew can flare up and infect bunch the racchi and any 'green' unset berries. This type of infection is not considered to affect wine quality as the fruit (the berry) is immune from Powdery and does not have any Powdery on its surface.
Careful harvesting may be necessary. Machine harvesting will remove the fruit and leave behind the infected racchi. Care needs to be taken, it is best not to pick very hard when you see infected racchi, so as to not contaminate the grape load by shaking them off as well as the fruit.

Botrytis has been triggered by the rain this weekend - UPDATE 9/3/2010

Above: Old leaves can get botrytis infections. Overseas, particularly in New Zealand, leaf plucking and other methods like forcing air through the canopy are used to clean out dead vine material to remove host sites for botrytis.

Generational Farming Workbook Launch

Above - The Generational Farming workbooks were given out at McLarens on the Lake, yesterday the 3rd of March.

What is Generational Farming?

Generational Farming is the McLaren Vale wine region’s sustainability accreditation scheme. The Workbook has been developed by a group of local viticulturists for the region, and builds on many years of work and knowledge.

The system is designed to fit in with the national ENTWINE system.

Workbook version. 1 is being distributed to grape growers that have indicated their willingness to participate in Generational Farming, in this first year (2009/10). Sixty businesses are starting the programme, which McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association chair Dudley Brown says 'represents something like 30% of McLaren Vale's vineyard area.'

The workbook is a work in progress, and the first batch of growers will be giving feedback to make changes to the system to make it the best possible.

There are five sections in the workbook, all with points…

New machine harvesting technology in SA.

We have seen some interesting developments with grape harvester technology this year. Check out the Pellenc sorting harvester.
The new Pellenc harvester was put through its paces in a block of Cabernet in McLaren Vale yesterday afternoon. The result was impressive - it was picking twin cordon cleanly @ ~3.6km/h!
Also on display was its berry sorting feature, it de-stems and removes the vast majority of the MOG through a very elaborate set of shakers, fingers and rollers on top of the machine. Seemed to do an excellent job.
It also carries the fruit on board rather than using an elevator into a chaser bin. Instead the fruit is carried in two hoppers that tip separately at the back of the unit - total capacity is ~2.5t according to the operators. As a result there was only one tractor/gondola used tipping into a bulk truck.
Overall we were pleased with the result and estimate it covered the 25 acres in around 15 hours.I wonder if its complexity will count against with regard to breakdo…

Should we spray after harvest? Q&A

Should we spray sulphur on our vines after harvest?Carmello There is much debate about whether vineyards should be sprayed after harvest Latest research would indicate that these sprays are often not needed.

Powdery mildew - Grape growers become concerned about high levels of Powdery mildew on their leaves (above).

1/ You might reduce the spread of powdery mildew in the canopy.

However, where disease has already developed, further increases in levels of powdery after–harvest generally make little difference to leaf and vine health.
2/ You might aim to reduce the amount of disease for next season.
Unfortunately spraying after picking has little effect on the chances of Powdery mildew next year.
Most buds that survive to next season are susceptible to powdery only in early growing season, so spraying now will not affect levels of winter-carryover in the buds. Also, the fruiting bodies of powdery, called cleistothecia, are somewhat like apples on a tree, they ripen in late summer an…