After 80 days of not even a drop of rain, a few days ago we were all relieved to see the clouds finally break. Of course, in the back of our minds was the hope that if it was raining here perhaps in a few days time the same clouds would reach Victoria and put at least a little dampness on what remained of the ferocious fires that claimed over 200 lives. According to today's news, that is exactly what happened so there is much to be thankful for.
What the rain also meant was that suddenly there was the threat of split skins on the severely dehydrated grapes that had endured not only the rainless 80 days but also the week or two of horror temperatures hovering around the low to mid -forties (degrees celcius). The poor skins had shrivelled so much that even minimal moisture had them bursting at the seams. On the whole, whilst it is a problem, it is minor compared to many others that vignerons have faced country-wide and we will still produce a 2009 vintage which is more than some.
So tonight as I heard the ute with trailer in tow rattling up the gravel driveway, grape bins strapped to the back, I knew it was only a matter of days before we would be heading up to the high hills to start our grape-picking season. Ironically I thought we would be starting with our Barossa Shiraz from down on the Valley floor but at this stage it appears the Eden Valley Riesling will be the first to "come off". In any event, as always, it will be a huge relief to get the crops off and the wines processed. I will be uploading photos and hopefully videos of this years processing in the coming weeks.