The 2022/2023 growing season can be summed up as a real box of chocolates as we experienced variable weather and climactic conditions as well as variable flowering and fruit set with an overall positive overtone.
Before welcoming the spring, the Quartz Reef team applied the final BD 500 application in the vineyard on the 14th of September. As luck would have it, we raised our horns from their burial site on the spring equinox again this year yielding good quality crop of BD 500. This is always a great opportunity to include the local wine and farming community into our BD practices and do a little show and tell at our nerve centre.
The growing season was off to a warm start in Bendigo and the buds bursting by the 23rd of September. The warm period was short lived with persistent cold weather through October and wet cool conditions lasting until the end of December. Because of this, we experienced a long slow flowering starting on the 28th of November and lasting a solid three weeks. The long, drawn out flowering period resulted in a variable and seemingly reduced fruit set. We applied BD 501 on the 22nd of November dancing around the adverse southerlies and applying BD 501 again on the 14th of December under slightly more favourable conditions.
As Christmas rolled around and we tucked the last shoots underwire for the season, the weather began to warm and dry out. Following the New Year we applied the last BD 501 of the season on the 10th of January just as the heat began to build.
From the beginning of January through late February the heat really turned up a notch with many days topping 35 degrees Celsius in Bendigo. As viticulturists and winemakers, these temperatures had us quite worried about the ripening aspect of the season, but good old mother nature had another curveball yet again. Around about the 20th of February, a good spell of wet weather rolled in and from then on through to the end of March, cooler temperatures persisted with weekly spells of rain. Some of the rain showers were quite dramatic.
It was the first year in three years we were able to welcome back interns from overseas. In November we greeted Bennie from Germany and later in February welcomed Adrianne from Burgundy. Both well versed in winemaking from their perspective regions, it was a pleasure to have them join our team for harvest. Returning from a ski injury was Callum (CJ) for his third harvest, Roxy for her second harvest, and Big Ben for his second harvest, all working alongside Rudi and Tucker.
Longer than usual, the 2023 harvest was drawn out due to the intermittent rain delaying the ripening period. One way or another the fruit was coming off and so it did. First pick for bubbles was on the 24thof February and the majority of Quartz reef fruit was off the vines by the end of March. All Quartz Reef pinot noir was picked on the 30th of March and the pinot gris a little later. Gruner Veltliner was, naturally, a Quartz Reef outing and joined by some New Zealand legends and great friends; Larry McKenna (previously of Escarpment) and Davey McDonald (of Wellingtons famous Ortega Fish Shack) our Gruner Veltliner aficionado. Overall, a highly successful day capping a fruitful harvest.
As we tuck the barrels away in the cellar and ready the disgorging equipment, the snow begins to fall and we turn back to the vineyard for BD 500, composting and begin the important task of pruning. Reflecting on a good year and great team we look forward to the coming winter to reset for another trip around the sun.