From a climate perspective the 2021/2022 growing season and the subsequent harvest was defined by adequate and timely rain and a warm dry ripening period. This combination of nature’s irrigation from October through December allowed the vines to have a strong fruit set. The superb ripening weather that followed from January though the end of April really brought home some quality fruit.
We saw budburst in the Chardonnay on the 23rd of September closely followed by the Pinot blocks. Interestingly, this is only within a day of the last two previous years.
Being the spring equinox, the 23rd of September was a big day for us from a BD perspective. Mustering a crew from our friends and neighbors in the BD wine community, folks from Felton Road, Burn Cottage and Rippon came to help us do some work on the farm. We raised the horns containing the BD 500 and put down some horns for the summer to make BD 501 and prepped our spring compost and newly made CPP (Cow Pat Pit), all in a day's work.
As we do, we were able to get a 500 application on the vines in October and then a subsequent application of 501 later in the season. The helpful timing of the spring rains assisted in conserving irrigation water this year and seemed to make the vines quite happy for a prolonged flowering and good fruit set.
The rain and cooler weather patterns seemed to ease as we approached January, and then the warm temps set in helping to ripen the fruit. A big challenge this year was keeping an eye on crop levels as the crop load appeared to be heavy. Although we did our best to mitigate heavy crops, we did have some heavier blocks this year. Amazingly these maturing vines really handled their own and the quality appears it may be something to relish.
With a slightly new approach to the growing season the QR seasonal team came on board in October and carried us through harvest this year and ideally through pruning as well. Alongside Rudi and Tucker, we had CJ (Callum) re-joining us this year along with Ben, Finja, Wesley and Roxy. The team started picking with the crews in the vineyard as the bubbles began to arrive late February and was quickly followed by Pinot three weeks later. Our last fruit came in on the 8th of April and we managed to pick the Gruner as a team (minus one due to COVID).
COVID really threatened to put some pressure on us this year but we seemed to make it through harvest un-scathed hopefully the last COVID harvest for a while (or ever) at least.With some good yields and pronounced quality the Pinot is tucked away in barrels the Gruner and Pinot Gris are ticking away though their final residual sugars and the bubbles are being blended and will be awaiting tirage in November. The sheep are grazing in the vineyard and we begin pruning in the coming weeks to reset and get ready for another ride around the sun.