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Monthly Report - May 2006

Clear days, cool nights…


The vines are well and truly on the way to a decent winter’s sleep, with the red varieties defoliated and the whites not far behind.  The quick change from autumnal hues to the barren winter canes took me a bit by surprise, but the weather may have a bit to do with it with crisp cold mornings followed by clear sunny days may have meant the vines thought the temperature was cool enough for them to have a rest.

May EoM Report picture.JPG

Typical 2006 May day in the south west of Western Australia

The month therefore wasn’t dominated by us working amongst the vines, rather the opposite, with us working to clear up the other 100 odd-jobs in the vineyard that required attention.  The biggest job was the basal trimming of the trees that form our eastern boundary – this was 500m of chain sawing all the branches that were heading to the horizontal rather than the vertical as these branches were starting to shade the top rows in the block.  Four days of cutting and dragging has meant the trees are now all in ship shape, light is streaming through to the vines, and the trees are still able to act as spray drift “stoppers” for our neighbours.  The other biggish job has been the completion of the nets, with nets removed and stored away as well as the clearing out of the shed to allow this to happen – once you start a vineyard you start collecting “stuff” and even the biggest shed becomes overwhelmed.


Trips out to the winery to catch up with Sharna and Matt, our winemakers, meant an interesting review of the 2006 wines as they settle into barrels after their ferment, and a good look at the 2005 Merlot / Cabernet Franc so as to determine when we’ll be bottling this wine.  Below are some notes I took while going through the wines:


2005 BP Merlot / Cab Franc:  Great colour, deep plum with garnet edge.  Nose of red black cherries and Satsuma plums, with chocolate and allspice providing lovely highlights to an already very pleasant nose.  Palate is coming together with the acid, tannins and fruit starting to mesh and give a full mouth feel, length proves to be long and fruit driven.  Coming along very well.


2006 BP Cabernet Franc:  Rich tomato / raspberry red coloured wine with a nose that is both floral and deep set with tamarillo and raspberry the most likely suspects.  Palate is rich and highlights the fruits noted on the nose – good length and excellent structure.


2006 BP Merlot:  Big and black red providing lots of “look at this” when first poured.  The nose was all Blue Poles merlot – plums, cherry and chocolate though this year we note a hint of mocha and gravel in there.  The taste is great, all rich fruits and nice balance – maybe not as luxurious as the 05 at the same stage but a lot more structure and character.  Excellent clean length finishes off this wine.


We are well pleased with all the wines at the winery and they look to be able to carry forward our aims of producing top wines from our vineyard site.


During this lull in the vineyards year, Blue Poles has finally received its liquor license from the West Australian Dept of Racing, Gaming and Liquor.  This gives us the opportunity to sell our wines directly to the public and to a number of selected retailers.  Over the next 2 weeks we will be contacting those who have sought our wines as well as placing the wine in various retail outlets – this is an exciting time for us and one that will give us much to ponder!


The weather report …


As indicated at the start of our report, the weather has been very pleasant, if not dead set gorgeous with May having the typical weather patterns of summer (a high pressure cell in the Great Australian Bight directing warm easterly winds over the southern half of WA), but without the heat – most unusual, and with these conditions rainfall has become scarce.  Here are the numbers:

May 2006:     

Avg Maximum Temp          19.2°C

Daily Max recorded            24.8°C


Avg Minimum Temp             7.1°C               

Daily Min recorded               0.9°C


Rainfall:                               29.2mm

In comparison to 2005 the temperatures were slightly higher, but there was a lot more rain fall.

May 2005:      

Avg Maximum Temp          20.7°C

Daily Max recorded            25.0°C

Avg Minimum Temp           12.3°C

Daily Min recorded               3.8°C


Rainfall:                             153.0mm

We are all hoping for the local farmers’ sake that the rainfall picks up in June and gives their grass a chance to grow.  Not to mention the need to get our dam refilled and to top up the groundwater levels.


The break in the season …


Should be upon us in June and we look forward to cracking out the gumboots and splashing about between the rows.  Pruning may commence right at the end of the month but at this stage I’m looking at July being the major commencement of this program (anyone who enjoys working in vineyards enjoys pruning – sounds silly I know, but the ability to reset the vines and to promote healthy growth through assessing each plant’s needs and fixing it is actually quite rewarding).  A bit more liming and weed control will come into play, as well as a bit of weeding around our roses.


All the best everyone.





Mark Gifford

Blue Poles Vineyard

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