A dry spring in Hawkes Bay

By Caine Thompson

Viticulturist, Mission Estate

The dry spring has continued through November and has bought on flowering rather quickly. Flowering is 80% complete in the Merlot and is at about 30% in the Syrah. For flowering sprays we are applying Switch for botrytis in the conventional blocks and Botryzen for botrytis in the organic blocks.

Shoot thinning has been completed across all blocks and the second wires have been lifted.

Canopy growth is slow given the dry conditions, so all blocks are being irrigated through this period. There doesn’t seem to be any visual differences in leaf condition between organic and conventional treatments at this stage of the season and the growth that is there seems fairly even.

We have used our undervine cultivator after the Tournesol has been through ,which has made a tidy pass through the organic blocks. However we have been noticing a number of clumps building up around the base of vines in the organic blocks, so we have walked through and removed these with spades, which was reasonably labour intensive task.

Going forward we will be leaf plucking with the collard post fruit set, before hand leaf plucking in the new year pre bunch closure.

Conventional Merlot, Dec 4th

Organic Merlot, Dec 4th