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Monthly Report - September 2014

Hand-wound Spring…


I have been hiding away in our house out on the vineyard for the past month – only leaving for a cup of coffee at Yahava in Margaret River or Fat Duck in Busselton, as I do my chores in the “city”.  It has been a month of just head down and getting on with all of those tasks that just seem to take forever to finish.  Pruning was knocked off at the start of the month, and then all of the mulching was done, first set of sprays to protect the vines from mildews was put out between the weather, wires dropped and tucked away ready to go in a month or two’s time, and irrigation lines repaired.  It just seemed like a big “To do” list that never seemed to get much shorter – and there are still jobs to do but I have escaped to Manila to work as hard as I can on my company stuff here.


Amongst all of this I had my sister-in-law stay with us with her two kids for a week, and I realised that though it seems like a lot of boring old work to me; children think feeding chickens, taking the dog to the shed, changing the chick’s water, putting nets over fruit trees, moving the cattle between paddocks, firing up the tractor and sprayer, feeding the ancient neighbours horse, and everything else associated with our day to day life is just simply the BEST.  There you go, we all need to be aged between 6 and 10 to get the most out of life.


Spring has not really sprung for us, the weather has insisted on staying the same temperature wise and pretty much weather wise as August.  Cold fronts of rain and wind hurtled through 2-3 times during September and we never really got a warming spell to kick off the grounds drying out and buds pushing up and up.  In fact just today in early October we have had another “inch” of rain and that keeps the vineyard wet and topped up, which pushes the flowering out and the eventual vintage in 2015.  To be honest I do not mind, as if January and February are hot as expected, then the vines are not too far advanced and we can preserve our flavours and let the tannins ripen at their steady steady rate.




Not through lack of topics but I have just run out of time.  Next month I will do a review of the “Sustainable Vineyard Program” that is being promoted by the McLaren Vale growers as I am contacting the proponent of the program such that I can see what they are promoting and how we fit into such a scheme.  Should be interesting and it will hopefully give you a bit of detail on how much effort and attention to detail is required to not just grow the grapes but also to be able to ensure your vineyard, the neighbours, and the regions are able to continue to do so over the long long term in a sustainable way.


Spring Offer…


As a way of making it up to you all, we here at Blue Poles have done an audit of the wine stocks and as we set aside all of our museum wines we noted that there is an extra 20 or so dozen of the 2005 Merlot / Cabernet Franc (our now Allouran), and though we do sell this wine through one retailer in Perth (the fantastic Ed and his team at Gangemi’s Fine Wines, West Perth), that is not exactly an easy access point for many of you in the Eastern States.  We have been opening a few over the past two months and they are drinking superbly and even show a touch of secondary flavor development which reminds you of classic aged Bordeaux (when you get one without the brett!! :) ).  Tim will tee up something for the mailing list but we are keen to show you what a wine with 9 years of bottle age looks like and why we think our site is pretty damn special.


Spring of sorts...


If you go back to last month’s Monthly report you would have thought I had forgotten to change the maxima and minima – not true!  The weather was almost an identical repeat for the averages, though it got a little hotter for the maxima and minima extremes.  This is very unusual and has held back much of the potential growth in the vineyard.


The numbers for the month and last year’s figures are provided below:


September 2014:      

Avg Maximum Temp          18.4°C

Daily Max recorded            26.5°C


Avg Minimum Temp             9.4°C               

Daily Min recorded               3.5°C


Rainfall:                               97.1mm

The maximum temperature average was still higher than last years, but the minimum was a bit lower with the clearer skies from the start of the month.  Rainfall this year is about average for this time of year, but last year we had a huge rainfall total to finish the season, which delayed some growth as will be seen this year.

September 2013:      

Avg Maximum Temp          17.7°C

Daily Max recorded            21.4°C

Avg Minimum Temp           10.5°C

Daily Min recorded               6.3°C


Rainfall:                              213.0mm


Creating Green …


Yep, we watch the vineyard go all the colours of green and the paddocks go all the colours of brown.  A bit topsy turvey but that is the way when you plant vines in this big wide brown land of ours.  I will be in Manila for a bit of October working away in the tropical heat and evening thunderstorms and I will be hoping the humidity in our vines in Margaret River will be a lot less than in down town Makati!

As always if you have any queries about what’s been written or about wine in general, do not hesitate to contact us either by email or and we’ll do our very best to answer any question.





Mark Gifford

Blue Poles Vineyard

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