I was driving through the hills today taking a peek at many vineyards. South Australia has experienced its wettest September & October on record. This will consequently prove bitter sweet for many growers as the season progresses.
Around this time of year, the vines are approaching full canopy, as can be seen in the photo above (Chardonnay vineyard near Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills) and inflorescense, or immature bunches of grapes, are prominently visible. While many of the vineyards are irrigated, there a also many that are dry grown. Dry grown vineyards are getting a bit of a shock this season, with excessive soil moisture present. Fungal disease pressure is at an all time high, with very high humidity and temperature.
Vineyards managers are nervously awaiting the first signs of downy and powdery mildew. Those that have opted to be completely organic will be hoping their vines natural defense mechanisms against fungal diseases are adequate.
While irrigation of vineyards is common place, it will never replace the benefits of natural rainfall, and poses a problem for growers who are trying to achieve maximum quality parameters.
It will be interesting to monitor the vineyards of the next few months and see how they progress. Mother nature has a way of balancing though, so I would not be surprised if we see warmer drier weather in the coming months, after all, we are now in the months of Summer, in Australia.