Australia is apprehensively waking up to the news from north Queensland where Yasi has stalked onto the tropical land.
Here in the Piccadilly Valley we feel a world away from the violence and destruction but as Australians empathise strongly with our compatriots who have clung to their homes by their finger nails overnight.
The climate black cat has crossed Queensland’s map unreasonably.
Here in the temperate and climate stable grape-growing Southeast we are worried about the relatively weather-trite of impending rain as Queensland and the inland of Australia absorb the power of Yasi turning it into a rain depression perhaps to visit us early next week.
Despite all that is happening around us including the fortnight old flood still silently and improbably slipping across Western Victoria while we work in sunshine, the vintage is exactly on average for the amount of heat received from bud burst in October until the end of January. In each of our vineyards, the hard, acidic green pea sized berries are waiting for the moment of transformation called “veraison”, into the ripe fruit of harvest. Veraison will signal harvest is just 60 days away.
We have not used any irrigation in any vineyard despite the dry January in the Piccadilly Valley and on the Fleurieu Peninsula. In January in Wrattonbully , the Whalebone Vineyard received the edge of the flood storm that crossed Western Victoria and had four or five times its average January rain and is well set to “go dry-turkey” for the 2011 vintage.
Vignerons are weather obsessed.
Last weekend, a swirl of Pinerogns gathered at Cape Schank on the Mornington Peninsula to discuss the intricacies of making the New World’s best Pinot. Unsurprisingly the climate and weather were the focus of the analysis of the Pinots of many regions including Mornington Peninsula, Bellarine Peninsula , Yarra Valley, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, New Zealand’s Martinborough, Burgundy and our very own lonely Fleurieu Peninsula entry. The 2008 Foggy Hill showed very well despite the heat wave blemish. The 2009 Foggy Hill is a more worthy aspirant for the New World title and there are few wines in my 40 year career of which I am prouder. The recent Feb/March Gourmet Wine 100 Top New Releases 95 points and the context of the wines around it support my bluster.