Unseasonal hail and lower rainfall… welcome to spring in Central

Misha’s Vineyard, photograph by John Wekking

Misha Wilkinson reports on the lead up to the 2020 harvest in Central Otago and since she is in one of the warmest and windiest corners of this now famous wine region, I wanted to share her thoughts on my weekly blog.

“So far the growing season has been cooler than our long term average, therefore our growing degree days (GDDs) are a little lower than usual. Our rainfall is also slightly below the average and it hasn’t stopped blowing all spring with winds sometimes at gale force. In spite of all that, our vineyard looks great with even and healthy vine growth. Tim, our vineyard manager, and the team have been able to comfortably manage the spring growth and are up to date with all our shoot thinning, wire lifting, tucking and bud rubbing tasks,” she says.

“The season has also brought us some more unusual weather events as on Monday 18 November when we had localised hail that hit parts of the Bendigo sub region. Misha’s Vineyard was on the edge of the hailstorm and although a few hail stones landed on our vineyard there was no damage to our vines, thankfully. However on some of the vineyards north of us, especially on Bendigo’s Chinaman’s Terrace, there was substantial hail and vine damage. Lightning strikes also took out several of the area’s irrigation systems, including ours, so there has been much work going on in the past week to replace systems and ensure the irrigation was up and running as quickly as possible.

“The forecast ahead indicates most of the country will experience hotter than normal weather, so it looks like things are on track for us to catch up on some heat as we move into summer.”

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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