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Tim's Ravings

Posted by Tim Stevens on

Bogged but happy

We’ve just had 3 tractors bogged in the vineyard, each one trying to drag the other out. It was quite a sight watching this tractor-train plough itself through the row. The vineyard manager had a beer or two that night.

And we left the special cow poo spreader slowly sinking in the middle of Block 8 – hopefully we’ll get it out sometime in the next month or two.

What a far cry from the dust storms, searing heat and rock-hard dry soil of this time last year. It’s great for the vines as they start to grow again – 5 years of drought have taken their toll on our 40-year-old vineyard and this spring has been a great time for replenishment, especially with all that poo we managed to spread before the bog.

The 2010 vintage was an awful one for us in terms of yields - just 30 tonnes of fruit from a vineyard that normally yields 300. On the other hand (there’s always an ‘other hand’ in viticulture) the quality was great. Bank manager sad, winemaker happy.

Over the next few months our 40 hectares of vines will flower with each becoming a grape. They will slowly fatten to pea size, then grape size before the New Year after when they will ripen their sugars and flavours before being picked, depending on variety, between February and April 2011.

Will this be another 1979 or 1999 (both considered the truly great vintages at Huntington Estate)? Thanks to the rains we already know it won’t be like 2010. By the time the vines shredded their spartan leaves in June and headed for a winter rest they looked as battered and exhausted as an ageing footballer heading for the off-season.

Unlike the footballer though, these vines will be back for more, many more times. Sometimes I worry about myself; I really think I am falling in love with the vines. I really admire their ability to stay in the one spot and cop everything that’s thrown at them, and still come back and give us this miraculous and wonderful thing called wine. Although I do feel sorry for the ones that are stuck next to the spreader with a tonne of poo in it. 

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