The Ultimate Guide to Viognier – 5 Facts Worth Knowing
By Cathy Howard • 12.12.2021
By Cathy Howard • 28.11.2019
Growing grapes and managing a vineyard each year to make wine is a long slow process, and one which requires skill and experience. The weather has a huge influence, and more so now with climate change. At various steps during the annual growth cycle of a grapevine, there are milestones reached at different times during the year and Neil uses these to manage his spray and nutrient programmes to ensure that we have healthy and vigorous vines.
Pruning is followed by budburst which is an exciting time as it signals the start of another vintage! As the vine shoots start growing upwards, tiny inflorescences (miniature sized grape bunches) appear on the new shoots, one or two of them on each shoot. These increase in size over the next few weeks as the shoots grow ever longer.
The next step is flowering. This is a close-up of a malbec vine which is flowering. The flowers are not large and showy and brightly coloured, they don’t need to be because they don’t need to attract birds or insects to pollinate them. They are wind pollinated! The next step after flowering is set, when we see the pollinated flowers forming or ‘setting’ as minuscule berries. Not all of the flowers will set, it all depends on the wind.
Set is happening right now across all of the vines and all of the different varieties in our vineyard. Set is when a flower is pollinated and ‘sets’ as a fruit. A grape berry is a fruit and like any fruiting plant, it is only the pollinated flowers that set and mature over time into a ripe fruit on the plant.
We are only part way through a long journey from flower to ripe grape, and there will be some nervous moments over the next few months as unfavourable weather conditions threaten to potentially spoil or lessen the grape crop for vintage 2020.
Cheers Cathy & Neil
I am a winemaker with over 30 years of winemaking experience. I moved to South Australia from Tasmania in 1995, after working for Pipers Brook Vineyard and Cascade Brewery. I worked at Orlando Wines, then St Hallett Wines in the Barossa Valley, and in 2002 I moved to Margaret River in Western Australia, to work as Chief Winemaker for Watershed Wines. I have gained a solid reputation for making high quality premium wines, most notably Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. I also enjoy writing, and every blog on our Whicher Ridge website is my own!
Favourite Pastimes – owning horses and dogs, gardening, farm life
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