By Caine Thompson
Viticulturist, Mission Estate
The winter period in Hawkes Bay was relatively mild, with adequate winter chilling. Spring is now well upon us with budburst almost upon the Merlot and Syrah on the focus vineyard. The springlike conditions began a little earlier than usual, with warm temperatures pushing bud swell before a few cool southerlies halted that progress. Our wind machines are prepared as they look to protect the developing buds as they get closer to pushing out their first leaves.
In terms of vineyard management we are trialing cultivating without ‘earthing up’ to see if we need to mound this year or not, as there is already a significant mound still in place from last season, that we can cultivate in using our undercutting blade. We will keep you posted as to how successful this method is or isn’t compared to mounding at the first cultivation pass.
We haven’t applied any agrichemicals at this stage but are planning on applying an early season lime sulphur across all blocks, with the first cover spray for powdery mildew being a JMS Stylet oil.
Another growing season begins as we enter the last year of the organic focus vineyard project. Certainly hoping for a season similar or better than the 2013 season!