Those not affected can only ever partially comprehend the misery inflicted by flooding. We observe the loss of irreplaceable personal effects, house, livelihood, the devastation of crops and productive land and we try to comprehend the mental and physical effort required to re-establish. Rebuild most will. Most Australians are tied to their homes, location and communities by emotional bonds too strong to be dissolved by floods or razed by fire. The resilience and determination of Australians faced with the interruption by nature of their life patterns in the rudest way casts into relief the daily activities of those of us blithely carrying on with our routines from the secure and comforting base of a home.
It does disincline us to complain about the relatively trivial challenges in our paths.
The La Nina effect is exacting its full summer drenching effect on the East Coast and as far as west as the South Australian border with Victoria although in South Australia the occasional cloud burst storm, the lingering humidity, overcast skies and moderate temperatures have posed their viticultural challenges.
In Tapanappa’s vineyards in the Piccadilly Valley, the Fleurieu Peninsula and at Wrattonbully in the South East our small transparent close spaced vines are experiencing the normal climate pressures of their European counterparts. Surprisingly the heat received in the growing season in each of our terroirs is only just below the average although night temperatures have been higher than normal and day temperatures lower, reflecting the effect of cloud cover.
Barring the arrival of a degenerate cyclone from the north-east or north-west, 2011 has the potential to be a vintage of cool climate moderation with little or no irrigation requirement, producing wines of a balance of moderate alcohol and fresh acid, wines of intensity and finesse. My desk is wooden but touching it may not save our vineyards from my premature optimism but so far so good. We are grateful for what we have at this moment.