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Monthly Report - June 2007

Out with the wet weather gear…


Funnily enough it is quite a pleasant feeling standing amongst the vines with the rain pouring down, and as pruning has begun at Blue Poles it may be the constant for the next 4 weeks.  Pruning is one of those jobs that you either love or hate and I must admit to being in the former group as it gives me a great insight into how each area of the vineyard has grown over the past season and it gives you the power to set your vines to how you want them to crop and form.  Unlike vintage where jobs are to the minute and require expert timing, pruning is like a trek in the forest where you stop and check each aspect of the journey taking mental notes of the good, the bad and the rehabilitated. 

We have kicked off pruning this year with the Shiraz and it is nearly complete with only 5-6 rows to finish off on this block.  Unlike previous years I may move the order of pruning around so as to try to bring forward bud burst on the Merlot and Cabernet Franc so I will do them next before I finish with the Marsanne and Viognier.  I hope to have the vineyard pruned by the end of July and this means August and September will be quieter months but no doubt will provide opportunities to complete many other tasks.

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The house takes form

One of the other activities happening on the vineyard is the building of our house and this is a task that keeps us quite busy.  Progress has not been as fast as was promised by our builder and this is due in part to the building boom that is currently underway in Western Australia, and in part to the unusual design of our house that makes building it a bit of a challenge for the team.  This month we have finally got the roof on and all of the framing complete within the house.  With the rainfall starting to increase having the roof on and the down pipes connected to our rainwater tank is a blessing and due to the huge expanse of our roof over the house and garage we have nearly half filled the 150,000 litre tank already.  Windows and cladding should be finished in the next two weeks or so and then we can get into the house and start filling in the walls.


Also on the go this month was the final areas of fencing completed with a further paddock sub divided from the estate and the house block fenced off.  This job was completed predominantly by our friendly neighbour Gary Cain, but the price is to have his stock use the grass, of which we are more than happy to pay as the areas fenced are not suitable for vines under a Blue Poles label so every one wins from this little arrangement.


Down it comes …


We had been promised a wet winter by the weather boffins at the Bureau of Meteorology in Perth due to a number of factors and a few of us started to doubt their predictions at the start of this month – cool and dry.  However this has at last all changed with about 75mm of rain in the last week of the month and much more expected coming into July.  With such a dry winter last year it is good to get some decent rainfall figures to fill our dam and our groundwater levels.  The numbers for the month and last year’s figures are provided below:

June 2007:     

Avg Maximum Temp          18.0°C

Daily Max recorded            21.5°C


Avg Minimum Temp             6.9°C               

Daily Min recorded               1.8°C


Rainfall:                               106.4mm

The 2007 maximum and the minimum temperatures were a little higher than in 2006, and this is due to a bit more cloud cover associated with the extra rainfall and weak fronts that passed over the region during the month.  Rainfall is significantly more in 2007 and here is hoping we get a good solid rainfall into the next few months.

June 2006:      

Avg Maximum Temp          17.4°C

Daily Max recorded            20.8°C

Avg Minimum Temp             5.6°C

Daily Min recorded              -0.5°C


Rainfall:                             61.4mm

Enjoying the quiet…


Pruning will be the only major task in the vineyard this coming month.  With our partners Tim and Yuko now based in Melbourne this means the task is more with us here in Margaret River, but Tim will make a flying visit and we look forward to his company and his help.  As you can see a quick report this month, but it is the one time in the year when the work is simply in front of you and you just knuckle down and get on with it, so I’d better get going!

All the best everyone.





Mark Gifford

Blue Poles Vineyard

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