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Mistletoe Vintage /Autumn Newsletter 2014

Mistletoe grandkids harvesting Chardonnay Vintage 2014

Welcome to the Mistletoe Winery Vintage Autumn Newsletter 2014.


February 16th 2014.
As I am writing it has been lightly raining for nearly two days.
This is the first reasonable rain we have seen in nearly 3 months.
The current drought is not just restricted to the Hunter Valley, it
extends right throughout NSW and Queensland. The rain that
most areas have received in the last few days is just enough to
lay the dust, nowhere enough to break this relentless drought.
The lot of the primary producer is, at the end of day, completely
reliant on the weather.
It doesn’t matter how smart a farmer you are, how much
technology you engage, how great your employees are,
or how hard you work, at the end of the day, you are controlled
by the weather.
If it doesn’t rain what can you do? Absolutely nothing!
Just try to survive, battle on, see out the drought and wait for
the rain.
A lot of people look at the wine industry through rosé coloured
glasses, however, when all the glitz and glamour of producing
wine is set to one side, it is an agricultural based business.
To make wine, you have to grow grapes, or have them grown
for you, and therefore your existence is completely reliant on the
weather.
The news of the harsh reality of the current drought is at last
being brought into our living room via the nightly news bulletin.
Cattle and sheep are being slaughtered by their owners as they
don’t wish to see them die a slow agonising death from hunger
and dehydration.
With my time spent in the bush over the past 60 years I have
seen it all before and it is absolutely terrible and distressing.
And is not only the animals dying, many farmers unable to see
a future ahead are taking their own lives. This loss of human life
does not receive the publicity it deserves.
Why do people hang on waiting for the drought to break and life
return to what is termed as normal?
Normal that is until the next long dry!
They do it because they love what they do. They love the bush,
love the change of the seasons, love the rhythm of life on the
farm, the sound of rain on the roof, seeing pastures turning green
overnight and the smell of the soil in the air after the rain arrives.
They love to hear the sound of the creeks running,and to see the
fat calves, and baby lambs, playing in green paddocks, and trees
and plants bearing crops that will eventually feed people across
Australia and perhaps overseas.
Also, farmers take immense pride and joy in growing a bountiful
crop in a good season.
How do I know all this? I know this because it is what we do as well.
We may be winemakers, but we are also grapegrowers. i.e. grape
farmers.
No grapes,no wine. Pretty simple really.
I haven’t really sat down and thought about it much before but I
spend time nearly every day researching the weather so we know
what to expect and to then plan how to react.
Technology has been a huge help in recent years with
computers, smart phones, weather satellites etc.
Whilst we keep an eye on the long range weather predictions we
also continually consult weather information so we can plan our
daily vineyard activities.
We are not allowed to spray if it is too windy as this will cause
spray drift onto neighbouring properties. There are certain
fungicides and vine treatments that we cannot use if it is too hot
as they will burn the leaves on the vines. If the ground is too wet
we cannot plough as it will compact the soil and preclude it from
breathing. If rain is predicted we won’t irrigate the vines.
All these activities are weather dependent.
During the growing season (September to April in the Hunter
Valley) we are consulting weather sites all the time. This is more
particularly so during the last month leading up to harvest as too
much rain can spoil the crop in a couple of days.
All that being said, 2014 is one of those years that makes it all
worthwhile!

Iconic Hunter Valley Vintage – 2014.


Hunter Valley Vintage 2014 is being quietly discussed by the
old hands as being perhaps the best vintage since 1965. It is
definitely the vintage of this century so far, and maybe the best
vintage in 100 years!
The start of the growing season (early September) was quite
warm but very dry,however,we then received quite a lot of rain
during November.
The weather turned very dry again in late November and
remained that way until February 16th.
This prolonged dry period has produced beautiful disease free,
perfectly ripened grapes!
Verdelho and Chardonnay came in around mid January but
Semillon and Shiraz were harvested at normal picking dates
starting around Australia Day and finishing mid February.
Work on our winery extension was delayed until January due to
the wet November we experienced.
With vintage commencing early we had tradesmen on site at the
same time as we were processing grapes.
There was nothing we could do but just get on with it and work
around each other.
We had many long days and late nights, and some fun along
the way, but with all the wines safe in the shed it makes it all
worthwhile.
We look forward to welcoming you to Mistletoe on your next
Hunter visit,
Kind regards, Ken and Gwen and all the Mistletoe Crew.

Drunken Kangaroos?

Drunken kangaroos???


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