Margaret River’s 2017 vintage season is shaping up to be a mild one. We have experienced a relatively long, cool winter, followed by decidedly mixed summer weather, resulting in slower development and hence a later start to the vintage than usual. With vigilant canopy management practices in place, the season should bode well for lovely fresh fruit aromas across all varieties.
We have just completed a phase of extensive shoot thinning, trimming, lateral removal and leaf plucking within the vineyard, in combination with some initial fruit thinning. This is undertaken to ensure well separated bunches and optimum levels of sunlight throughout the day (namely good levels of morning sunlight followed by dappled sunlight for the rest of the day).
Our fruit is only just starting to experience veraison (colour change), so very soon we will do another pass of fruit thinning to drop the greenest (most unripe) bunches to facilitate good even ripening across the vines. We will then cover the vines with netting to protect them from birds and other wildlife (especially those vines next to bushland reserves on the estate), and cross our fingers for some lovely sunny weather to ripen the grapes to perfection.