Here’s a brief rundown on what has been happening in and around the Mount Pleasant vineyards during the growing season. Our own staff and a group of contractors spent the cool winter months doing what in my opinion is the most important task of the year; pruning the vines to set bud numbers, it is the time when we can set our crop load for the coming season, with each block having specific yield targets for the product that it is destined for. Budburst commenced quite early for us, late August for our early bursting varieties. The season commenced well, with budburst progressing quite quickly across all varieties and with good moisture stores in the soil due to relatively good rainfall through winter.

We have had great conditions for our growing season to date with average temperatures and a good amount of rainfall to keep soil moisture stores up. In the past month we’ve received 50.2mm and a total of 118mm since July, which is below average for the region but the rainfall events have been well timed falling just after budburst and post flowering.

The new Fiano and Tempranillo plantings that were planted in 2013 are progressing well and we should get a small crop from them this year for the winemakers to have a play with. The new Sagrantino vines that were planted last year are also powering along and loving the site where they were planted. In addition we’ve planted some new vines of a Spanish variety called Mencia, a red variety that should hopefully be well suited to the red soils of the Rosehill vineyard. Further plantings of Shiraz are planned in 2016 with cuttings from the Old Hill Vineyard being sent away to be grafted onto a rootstock that is drought tolerant. Plans are in place for further plantings of small blocks of alternate varieties as well as replacement plantings of more suitable clones of Chardonnay, so watch this space.

It is anticipated that harvest should commence in early January, which has really become the new norm for us, the first variety in should be the Verdelho, closely followed by the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and then finishing up with the Shiraz. We are looking forward to a predicted dry season after the challenging 2015 vintage. With an El Nino year anticipated, meaning less than average rainfall, the holiday season will most likely be spent irrigating vines as well as spending quality time with friends and family. All in preparation for the best time of the year, bringing in the fruit from our fantastic vineyards to hand over to the winemakers so they can transform it into the products that we all love!

Paul Harvey
Vineyard Manager
Mount Pleasant Wines