Steady growth through flowering

By Steve Wheeler
Viticulturist, Mission Estate

Caine Thompson, previously Mission Estate viticulturist, has moved on to a new position at Pyramid Valley Vineyards. We thank Caine for his excellent contributions to this project over the years and welcome Steve Wheeler to the team for our final season.

We have continued with a mild and relatively dry spring with no significant frosts. Rainfall has been low, but this pattern was broken in the last week of November with 40-50mm falling in three days.

Vine growth is quite advanced with steady shoot growth. Some blind buds are evident in the Merlot in both conventional and organic blocks. Cluster numbers are high and flowering complete in the Merlot and almost complete in the Syrah. BotryZen was applied to the Merlot at 80% flowering.

Three cover sprays of sulphur and copper have now been applied in both the organic and conventional blocks. Seaweed and Roots and Shoots were added to the last spray.

The dry weather has meant that irrigation has been kept up leading into flowering.

The Tournesol undervine cultivator was put through the organic blocks to tidy up some of the remaining weeds before they began to benefit from irrigation and the recent rainfall.

At this stage there are no significant visible difference in shoot growth, cluster number and vine appearance between the organic and conventional treatments.

Syrah: conventional on left, organic on right

Syrah: conventional on left, organic on right