I think we just missed the major hailstorms that were around here but only just. I was watching an amazing storm come through today and one or two miscellaneous pieces of hail came plummeting to the ground, as if to remind me “it could if it wanted to”. Even though they were reasonably big, they likely did little damage.
Nevertheless, incidences like the hail and the recent fire in O’Connell remind me just how precarious the business of grape growing and wine making can be. After all, our primary industry is farming and all farmers are at the mercy of the weather to a large extent.
In truth, the weather has been kind to us in the Bathurst region so far this year. Even though rain has been quite sparse and it has been a relatively hot spring and early summer, the vines look great thanks to the fact that we had no major late spring frosts this year. It looks like the dry and hot growing season will continue as El Nino kicks into full force and I don’t think that is a bad thing for us grapegrowers. As a smart vigneron once said to me, “the best wines from cool climates are made in warm and dry vintages” and I think 2016 will be one of those warm and dry vintages.
Small berries with a high skin to pulp ratio generally means fruit with more flavour intensity and power. In seasons like this, I use my drip irrigation system to give the vines enough water to stay alive and produce fruit. So far, I have irrigated three times. Who knows what the next three of four months will bring but I am excited to find out.
When I look at all of the major things that are happening around the world including tolerance or lack of tolerance, terrorism, domestic violence, climate change just to name a few, I realise what I do is just a trivial exercise in self-indulgence and “feel good” behaviour. On the other hand, not many professions exist where a person is able to grow a product, turn it into something delicious to drink and then market and sell it on to an appreciative audience. I guess what I do definitely does not hurt anybody else and, to a certain extent, sharing a good wine with friends and family helps people to slow down and focus on some of the beauty that surrounds us
and the positives in our communities and ever changing world. So, if what I do helps people to feel good then I am doing my job.
Thanks to all of my friends, family and loyal consumers for making 2015 a fantastic year.