The 2017 vintage in Margaret River presented us with the most challenging conditions that we have seen since 2006. The cool temperatures throughout the growing season coincided with a wet ripening period (February, March). We were fortunately blessed with a very dry April, which meant that most grapes in the northern part of Margaret River were harvested. Unfortunately, this weather was too late for many vignerons further south.
AHA has continued to record Growing Degree Days (GDD) again this season, as we have done for the past 13 vintages. GDD is a cumulative measure of warmth (sum of all the daily contributions) over the growing season (September to April). GDD depends on the recognition that growth requires a sustained temperature of at least 10 degrees Celsius, and that temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius do not aid growth. The amount of GDD accumulated during a given day is usually calculated from that day's high and low temperatures as: daily GDD = (high + low)/2 - base temp of 10 degrees. The logged GDD is only an approximation, but does guide assist in timing, crop regulation and certain operational decisions.
With a GDD of 1623, 2017 is still well below the average of 1847. The 2009 and the 2005 vintages are the most comparable with a GDD of 1728 and 1757 respectively. While the warmer dry weather in April was welcomed, we were still significantly higher than the 2006 vintage where we only had a GDD of 1481.
We are currently busy ensuring all vineyard infrastructure is ready for the upcoming pruning season which will commence later in June.
The remote sensing of vine vigour has become a popular tool to help grape growers and wine producers identify and manage variation in vine performance across vineyards. Did you forget to pre-order your airborne imagery for this season? If you did, then you will be pleased to know that SpecTerra, in collaboration with AHA Viticulture/Precision Viticulture Australia. Imagery can be purchased retrospectively from the following website https://www.v3maps.com.au/
With vintage now complete we are busy completing audits on all our Quality Assured sites. It is a requirement to complete an internal audit annually and then every three years we are audited externally by a Freshcare Auditor.
Entwine Australia is a voluntary enviromental assurance program that allows winemakers and wine grape growers to receive formal certification of their practices according to recognised standards. AHA is currently assisting growers in the region in Freshcare, a WFA approved, independently audited enviromental certification program. Currently we have a number of vineyards accredited so feel free to contact us to see how we can certify you.
We provide a monitoring service for many clients in the South West. A monitoring program provides early detection of vineyard pests, fungal pathogens and bacterial diseases, potentially saving money on sprays or preventing crop damage. Current activities include:
Please contact the office on 97568011 if we can be of assistance in these areas.
Jim Campbell-Clause has been busy collecting soil, water and petiole data from sites in the Geographe to help growers make good irrigation and nutrition decisions. This work has been funded by the Wine Australia Regional Program. Jim is planning a workshop with all participants after harvest and will let you know dates.
Colin Bell continues to be busy with industry development both regionally and nationally. This includes his ongoing represenation on the board of the WGGA.