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“Orange” grape harvest off to a great start

22 Feb 2018 9:26 AM - Story and photos by John Waterman

Vintage in the Orange/Hunter Valley district is looking to be very healthy at this stage of the season.

Despite Orange weather conditions being warmer and dryer than average, Tamburlaine wines vineyard manager Clayton Kiely is very impressed by the yields and fruit quality picked so far.

Even though dry conditions have prevented lateral roots optimising in-crop rainfall, drip irrigation applied at the base of the vine has compensated the vines’ overall water usage relatively well.

As a result of the dryer conditions, Clayton said overall water use had increased from .3 Ml/ha average to .5 Ml/ha.  However, the first blocks of Sauvignon Blanc have been picked and met expectations and budget forecast of 10-11 T/ha.

Clayton said, if there was a benefit to dry conditions, fungal diseases such as powdery and downey mildew and Botrytis had been minimal, requiring no in-season or preventative control..

Despite the season’s challenges, the varietal character displayed in the fruit at low baumé (sugar levels) has created perfect conditions for vitners making the wine (less interference is required through the wine making process which ultimately results in a better product).

If this continues across all varieties and other vineyards in the area the stage is set for a great regional vintage.

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