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Monthly Report - April 2020


How are we all?…


It is an incredibly odd time in our lives and possibly an incredibly difficult time for some.  We here at Blue Poles hope that everyone who is reading this report is in the best of health and managing to keep safe and active.


As indicated in the last report, there could be a number of ways countries of the world deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and I guess if you are in Australia or New Zealand you can sit back and know that the controls put in place have done their job and brought the pandemic down to trackable numbers – “flattening the curve” as we love to say now.


This is great, I guess, but our degree of interdependence around the world literally means we can be that “Island Home” we have sung about, all girt by sea.  The capacity to travel outside of a potential NZ-Australia bubble may be many months away and could even be reliant on a vaccine (something to add to the yellow booklet for all of us who travel to odd places around the globe).  And that is a bit depressing and affects many many people from seeing their relatives and loved ones until some controls are in place.


It is fortunate that there is little work to be done in the vines – we knocked back some weeds under vine and let the vines slowly lose colour (still surprisingly green out there – odd seasons, tres strange…).  So, what have I done, sitting in my little house, chewing away time?


Geology work and lots of it.  While there is a stoppage in the progress of many mining and exploration company work programs around the world, there is an element of reset going on.  So, I have been inundated with reviews of projects from all over the globe.  Which has been interesting as I have gone from Guyana to Guinea to Canada to Argentina to Far North Queensland – and what feels like everywhere in between.  It has also awoken my academic interest once more as with all of the work I have done around the world I am finally starting to see a more “wholistic geological” picture of the globe – pieces of knowledge are interlinking with other remnants of past projects and becoming quite eye-opening.  I doubt I would have had that perspective without this solid 6 weeks of work and solitude placed upon me.  And there still may be 6 weeks more of this enforced intensive study in place – anyone wish to have a lecture on the importance of the West African Shield Geology?


My little world – looking out via Google into a much larger one…


Now don’t believe I have taken up a pipe and started producing geological almanacs as a sole occupation – we have been busy posting wines all around Australia with the release of the 2018 Shiraz.  This has meant my only real excuse to wander out of the house, down the road, and into the post office, where there usually is a mountain of wine heading out of the Margaret River region every day (it seems like – lots of cases waiting to be delivered most times I rock up).


We’d like to thank everyone who has bought recently, and we are now down to the last remaining stocks of the Shiraz (which I can’t say enough, is simply gorgeous drinking), so do not procrastinate if you would like to take advantage of the remaining cases.  Our release of the Reserve wines (Reserve Allouran excluded) is planned for the next month or so and will be discussed in more detail in the next monthly report.


Gratuitous Baking Picture – Banana Muffins with brandy-soaked raisins (…just because)

Raiding the Cellar…


Every state in Australia has taken a unique approach to lockdown during this period of pandemic.  I believe Western Australia has perhaps been the most lenient as there is little pressure externally to stay in your homes, but most (I would guess at 80-90%) have heeded the request and only headed out for grocery shopping and the occasional trip to the post office, hardware store etc.  But with only a handful of new Covid-19 cases in the past week or two we are close to putting the pieces back together again – and once Settlers Tavern is reopened in town, it will be business as usual one could say (…without the groups of Singaporeans wandering town which was the historical norm).


But lockdown has meant a chance to review our cellars and drag out some bottles to go with a meal we have actually had the whole day to think about, and half of it to prepare.  I have been lucky as I naturally have most of our wines on hand, and I and Tim (and Yuko), still enjoy drinking them and still get a frizzle of excitement when we crrrrick open one of our wines that we thought were the bomb.  In the past 6-8 weeks I have actually gone through almost all of our wines and have had a good look at them over dinner and the following days, so I will run through them here, and if you are holding some in your cellars it should give you an update on where each wine is at:

202004_Allouran table.jpg
202004_2006 Allouran.jpg

Surprise packet – 2006 Allouran. Look at the colour for a 14yo wine

202004_Other table.jpg


Now you could easily say that I have a cellar palate – and you would be right, I know our wines from the grape to the bottle and everything in between.  But I do not pretend that these are the “best wines in the world” or even “best wines in Australia” – but they are really well made authentic wines from our estate and I personally think that they stack up very well against any wines of equivalent variety and age  - and this has been the case on many occasions that we have tasted our wines in “blind” settings.  But I digress…


If you are lucky enough to have cellared some of our wines – first up really well done, and secondly do not be afraid to crack any of them and have a night of it.  Where I have indicated longer time in the bottle, simply put those wines in a decanter for a couple of hours and most will be drinking beautifully by the time you pour the wine.  I have not noticed much sediment in the wines apart from the 2005 and 2006 versions – but do be careful with the 2008’s as that feels like it might throw some in the bottle more than some of the others.             


Autumnal shades...


After a disrupted vintage with some heavy rain falls during March, those of the vignerons out there with courage on their side did wait into April and were rewarded with some warm weather to round out the season.  Autumn may have started on 1 March but in reality it started on 13 April with temperatures from this point on being in a small range of 20-23°C until the end of the month and showers strafing through on a rotation of every 2-3 days.  It has been a good time to do some gardening in the South West.


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


April 2020:        

Avg Maximum Temp          22.3°C

Daily Max recorded            30.7°C


Avg Minimum Temp           13.2°C

Daily Min recorded             4.1°C


Rainfall:                               59.6mm

The maximum temperatures were similar with 2020 being slightly higher due to the heat burst at the start of the month.  The minimum was lower in 2019 with less rain and less cloud cover in comparison to 2020.  The rainfall total in 2020 was higher and came from a larger number of rainy days in comparison to 2019.

April 2019:        

Avg Maximum Temp           22.0°C

Daily Max recorded             29.1°C


Avg Minimum Temp            10.5°C

Daily Min recorded               4.6°C


Rainfall:                               36.7mm

Keeping to oneself once more…


Who can know what will be happening in the month ahead?  I feel like I’m in my own remake of “Groundhog Day”, but will try to break it up with a visit to the winery to see Clive and Ellin to check in with the 2020 vintage now that it is safely in barrel as well as check up with the 2019 wines to see how they are tracking.  I do still have plenty of work to do geologically and for that I am grateful.


Keep safe everyone and look after one another. Until next month then…


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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