Cool Climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Bended Knee Vineyard

Earlier Happenings...

Anyone with a small vineyard needs to be multi-skilled and able to juggle a number of tasks at one time. It also has its compensations-like some great lunches whilst ‘researching’ where to place the wines. Here is a taste of what this week has been like.

In the middle of this ballistic growth in the vineyard, we are finishing off shoot thinning. This is where any unwanted shoots are removed and whilst labour intensive, serves a number of purposes: firstly it helps to regulate yield back to that planned at pruning, secondly it helps to thin the canopy to help with disease control and light penetration, and lastly it concentrates growth into the shoots that we want to retain and sets the vine up for next year (particularly in younger vines where the growth is not as vigorous). Our next job is to seriously think about lifting the wires for the first time, this holds the vine canopy neatly in place, giving support and helping with positioning. The vines are probably a couple of weeks from flowering – a critical time in terms of weather and needing to get important preventative sprays out at the right time. Luckily, the sprayer is fully operational again after one of the solenoids had stopped working – which meant finishing the spraying operation with only one side working and thus doubling the time required for the job! It didn’t take too much to fix it, alas another vigneron I know of was frustrated for a whole day trying to find a similar problem which turned out to be an almost broken earth wire. Intermittent faults can be the most annoying!


Vineyard work has been greatly assisted in recent weeks by some very good chocolate brownies at morning tea (rating an incredible 9.9). Work has however slowed for reasons other than hunger and fatigue – bird watching. We have had an amazing couple of weeks with just the right conditions for an amazing array of birds to be overhead. In one day, we saw two different pairs of brown falcons, a pair of little eagles and had a kestrel for constant company throughout the day. But just when we thought we might get stiff necks from looking up, we have spotted two snakes in the vineyard; one was dead and had obviously been lunch for some birds, the other a very much alive copperhead. It seems the vineyard must be a very hospitable habitat!

November 25, 2007

Well this really is the silly season (in more ways than one). Not only have all the Christmas and end of year parties started but the growth has gone crazy in the vineyard. This explosion of growth was helped along by “2 inches” (actually 56mm) of rain a fortnight ago and another “inch” last week (28mm). This rain came at just the right time and will really help the vines get going for this season. A good friend, Graham, at Rokewood Junction was lucky enough to get 4 inches (100mm) in the first episode of rain which essentially filled his dams and has supplied water for the next two seasons (very jealous!).




Speaking of lunch…I had a most amazing roast red duck curry at Pearl the other week. It is an absolutely sensational dish – even down to the presentation! If you get the chance, this is a dish you should try. Apparently, they tried to take it off the menu once and had too many complaints from regulars, so it is a fixture on the menu. We had the Escarpment Pinot Noir from Martinborough (NZ) with it, I think the 2005 – a seriously good wine. As always, the service was impeccable.


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