With the rain clearing for the day, it was a perfect opportunity to get out into the vineyards this morning, with our viticulturalist Thys Greeff.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, this time of year the vines are coming back to life, with new buds and shoots now visible in most vineyards. The ‘later’ varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are not yet budding but our Shiraz and Viognier vineyards are showing good even budding. Thys took me to a Petit Sirah vineyard that is now three years old. These vines will yield their fist crop in 2009 and the vines are already starting to show the beginnings of what will eventually become bunches of grapes, as you can see in these photos.

The vineyard teams have been going through the vineyards and breaking away the extra shoots and leaves, which is important to ensure that the new shoots get the best possible start to the season. There is more rain forecast for the next week, which will mean that the vineyard team will need to do some preventative spraying to protect the young shoots from fungi, which can grow in the damp conditions after the rains. The weather over the next couple of months will go a long way to determining the quality of the grapes that the winemakers will have to work with – but of course that is completely out of our hands!

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