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Talking vines with Hamish Hay

6 February 2018

As the vineyard manager, how you would you describe what's been going on in the vineyards this year?

This season has been hard and fast with above average temperatures producing vigorous growth that we have had to battle.  There was a lack of staff pre-Christmas so it was a struggle to keep up with growth but we got there in the end and the crop is looking excellent.

What have you been doing to overcome the stress of the heat on the vines?

We have had to nearly double the amount of water that has been applied to our vines this year and even water blocks that have not been irrigated for some years.  There has been constant vigilance of all blocks as the heat has been so severe the vines were showing signs of stress after just a day or so without water.

As it’s been such a hot summer, how has this affected the vines and how will it affect vintage this year?

The extra stress that this summer has produced should provide some intense flavours and the extra light will increase colour and tannins.  It has also increased our ice block consumption on the vineyard considerably!

When will you be ready to pick this year for the Cromwell vineyards and the home block?

We should be underway in the Cromwell vineyards by mid March at the latest.  The home block should be ready to pick around the last week of April, which is earlier than usual and it is looking fabulous. If the run of great weather continues, we could be picking even earlier!

What do you look for in a “super” vintage team?

The Vintage team in the vineyard consists of a mixture of RSE workers form Vanuatu and backpackers from around the world.  We do long hours and barely get days off for 5-6 weeks, so working as a team and having fun is what we are after in a “super” vintage team.

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