The 2017/2018 season was a great one.
We had perfect growing conditions, producing exceptional-quality grapes with intense colours and flavours.
Spring rainfall was a little below average, and in late October/early November, we did observe a couple of downy mildew outbreaks (caused by moisture and humidity), but they were contained with little effect on the grapes.
Summer was one of the driest on record, so the below average rainfall saw the soil moisture profile dry out quickly, meaning our irrigation pumps were needed a little more than normal.
Harvest conditions were perfect, with autumnal days and cool nights, meaning the grapes retained plenty of natural acids, resulting in some beautifully balanced wines.
Grape yields from this season were average, but their quality was outstanding. In fact, the aromatic qualities of our Syrah grapes were so good that they were sought after by leading Barossa wineries and blended - to add some value to their grapes that got a little too hot in the northern valley.
Our Indian Summer meant irrigation practices and some fertiliser applications were managed through to the end of April - to avoid any vines from stressing, and to keep them in tip top condition.
Once the vineyard mid-row grasses started to grow (mid-May), we added 150 Merino Sheep (about 7 sheep/hectare) to the vineyard. The sheep are part of our sustainable vineyard management practices - they help reduce vineyard running costs by grazing on grass and weeds (which controls undervine growth) and add fertiliser. To avoid over-grazing in areas, we rotate them between two blocks at a time. And we've now added another 50, taking our sheep count to 200.
Due to the high demand on our irrigation system, post-season irrigation maintenance has been important, and continues.