winter and early spring rains filled the soils and set the vines up well for
the season. July to September rainfall in the Eden Valley was 36% above
average, yet only 85% was recorded during October and 24% in November, which in
effect equates to a dry spring. (Barossa
Grape & Wine Association, 16 April 2014 summation)
the vines in full growth and flowering, November's cold dry nights induced
unseasonal frost. Bunch set in the Riesling, Grenache and Mataro varieties was
affected and subsequently we had to lower our yield expectations.
Summer Heat & Fire
prolonged heat of early January put a strain on the watering system, and
the vines coped well. Drastically,
attention was soon diverted.
January 14 fire at Flaxman's Valley devastated the grazing land of Dick and
worse to come.
days later it did and it was all hands on deck in defence of the Eden Valley
fire as the 20 km fire front swung around with the violent SE cool change to
threaten all in its swift NW path.
fire front that came perilously close to Keyneton was halted at Graetztown some
2.5 km across country to the SE of Evandale Estate.
Many in the district were affected and much
time thereafter was spent on the fire ground monitoring danger spots and "mopping up." At Evandale Estate we were fortunate and count our blessings the
grapes were not, at the very least, smoke tainted.
Split berries &
A month to
the day (Valentine's Day) 150mm of steady rain fell
within 24 hours and in no time (or what
there was green feed for
caused some grape splitting with the Riesling
worst affected, followed by the Traminer, Shiraz, and Mataro.
The Grenache & Alicante Bouchet avoided damage.
skin breakage of grape berries plus the moist conditions made this year's
harvest susceptible to the fungal disease, Botrytis cinerea.
As the baume in the white varieties was below peak and a few weeks remained
until harvest, the entire crop was vulnerable to the malevolent form of
grey rot. [If
the season was further advanced and the hot, dry conditions resumed, the risk
would have been the benevolent form of the Botrytis fungus -
noble rot - from which a sweet dessert wine can be made provided the
grapes have been allowed to shrivel (concentrating the baume.]
likelihood of outbreak was very real, and it would spread rapidly throughout
the vineyards, potentially causing significant loss to both the quality and
winter Mandy prunes to encourage the vine rods to grow vertically.
As the season progresses some thinning of the
rods may be required, but not this year.
light-medium canopy is maintained for maximum sunlight and air flow and as
bunches develop they are thinned to eliminate tight cluster-growth.
This year nobunch thinning was required for the white
for vignerons in the Eden Valley this
vintage, the conditions tested their best efforts.
aid the drying of the Riesling and Traminer berries to reduce, if not avoid,
the risk of Botrytis infection, a precautionary spraying with Potassium
Metabi-sulphate was undertaken a week after the rain. Vigilantly monitoring the
grapes, Mandy was rewarded - the spraying strategy worked extremely well.
the lead up to harvest Mandy went through every vine removing any bunches with
the slightest appearance of infection - six bunches in all, and all mild cases.
protective bird netting was removed and the Riesling and Traminer grapes handpicked
on Wednesday 12 March. Mandy's efforts were rewarded with top quality fruit. Crushing
and fermenting followed and winemaker and recently endowed Baron of Barossa, Jo Irvine has since infused her
The 2014 Riesling Traminer is now
bottled comprising 68% Riesling and 32% Traminer.
aromatics of rose petals from the Traminer married with the lemon and
limes from the Riesling makes this wine exceptionally attractive.
flavours follow through on the palate with a crisp, zingy acidity
enhancing the wine's length and balance. - Jo Irvine, winemaker
Shiraz grapes experienced a reasonable amount of split, most of which dried without
spraying as their foliage is light allowing excellent air flow.
temperatures cooled the vines started to shut down for the winter. Luckily,
with a few warm days and the rain holding off, they made timely ripening.
decided the harvesting of the Shiraz grapes be a fund raiser for the local
tennis club. With locals donating their labour and their 'pay' going to Club,
grapepicking was on Sunday 6 April - at the perfect baume and a day before the
more rain fell and perfect conditions endured, Botrytis again struck.
Mataro and Alicante Bouchet escaped infection but the Grenache, renowned for
large and very tight bunches, proved susceptible. With a few weeks yet before
being ready to harvest it was vital to remove all Botrytis.
rods in the vineyard stand upright except the vigorous end-growth. Although no
rod thinning on any variety was necessary this year, increased air flow to dry the
Grenache bunches as much as possible was essential.
hedged all low hanging rods by hand and promptly followed with an inspection of
every single bunch. Those presenting with the slightest sign of the fungus were
This was done with extreme
care, straight into a bucket and removed from the vineyard, ensuring none was
dropped to the ground to aid spore spread. This resulted in a loss of about a
quarter of a tonne.
previous seasons Radford Wines at Flaxman's Valley has taken the Grenache,
Mataro, and Alicante Bouchet fruit. This season's fruit
bought by Rockford Wines, Krondorf.