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Monthly Report - November 2005

Canes are a jumping…


Where October may set the scene, November is where you find the plants to be bursting with growth and if you’re not careful becoming monsters.  Insect pest pressures start to hit you and you need to be on top of mildews and other diseases so as to set strong clean canes for the coming month’s fruit set and maturation.


With this knowledge, a solid month of training and thinning has really made a difference in the vineyard in both reducing pest and disease pressures as well as ensuring a quality vintage through yield restriction.  About a third of all the canes set amongst the Merlot, Marsanne and Cabernet Franc were removed by hand so as to reduce yield and open the canopy slightly.  A pass through the Shiraz also found us doing a lot more thinning than anticipated due to the heady growth that these 3 year old vines have put on in the past 30 days.  Two training passes through the Viognier has brought great reward with now the weed pressures abated, the vines have really behaved and concentrated their growth upwards rather than outwards – a good harvest can be expected in 2007 from these young vines.


Hay Moguls surround us…


While we have been toiling away in the vineyard, we did get to look up now and again and see our neighbours busily making hay while the sun shone.  To our west we have Colin and Val Cain who run beef cattle - Colin is a fisherman extraordinaire and having gone fishing with him a few times you have to be extremely lucky to ever beat his tally at the end of the day.  To our east we have Colin and Val’s son Garry with his wife Kerry and the myriad of children which form the Cain Clan.  Garry and Kerry run a dairy with a herd of Friesian cows as well as some show winning Light Sussex chooks.  Both Garry and Colin spend November in their tractors cutting, turning, baling, and finally storing their hay – all day you can hear them belting around the paddocks (as well as the other farmers in the area), and this year has been super productive for all.  Excellent spring rains and a bit of warmth arriving in mid-November has meant a bumper harvest and the chance to replenish hay barns around the properties.  Working amongst all the locals and watching the seasons pass with them has given us even more of an appreciation of their efforts and trials.


Spring has appeared, but summer awaits….


This has been a funny old month, we have had higher than average rainfall again, to match the lower temperatures for both minimum and maximum, but the ground has dried up, the vines are leaping in the sunshine and summer “like” thunderstorms rolled through on the night of the 26th raining liquid fertilizer and knocking out my electronic irrigation controller.  A summary of the month's weather records are as below:

November 2005:     

Avg Maximum Temp          20.2°C

Daily Max recorded            27.5°C


Avg Minimum Temp             9.2°C               

Daily Min recorded               3.4°C


Rainfall:                               43.0mm

In comparison to 2004 we continue to lag behind in the temperature values but the extra rainfall in 2005 has been good….

November 2004:      

Avg Maximum Temp          22.2°C

Daily Max recorded            33.7°C

Avg Minimum Temp           10.8°C

Daily Min recorded               3.9°C


Rainfall:                             16.2mm

It has been predicted at the Bureau of Meteorology that the summer of 2005/06 will be hotter than average and this will put pressure on the vines.  With the dam still full and the groundwater only now beginning to recede amongst the vines, we feel ready to take on this challenge and careful note of how the vineyard handles the heat will guide us in how much leaf plucking and fruit exposure we should allow and what level of watering we should be giving the mature vines so as to not compromise on fruit quality.  A case of juggling some variables in the air…


December, let them grow…


Much of the initial set-up of the vines for the vintage has been completed in November, but for the coming month this means fine-tuning these initial training passes, getting the 1st wire lift out of the road (delayed by the weather I’m afraid), a bit more weed spraying, and checking, checking, and more checking for pesky bugs and moulds.  The end of the month will have us eating till we burst so January may require some forced runs to the top of the Shiraz block!

That’s the month that’s been at Blue Poles Vineyard.  Enjoy your Christmas with friends and family and happy drinking…..





Mark Gifford

Blue Poles Vineyard

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