Grower's happier outlook after rain

WHEN it comes to tracking weather that may impact on his grape harvest, Stephen Doyle at Bloodwood Wines is meticulous.

Using statistics he gathers yearly, Mr Doyle has prepared a picture of this year’s potential crop taking into account rainfall of the last few days.

Just two weeks ago Mr Doyle was telling his friends and social media followers that without good rainfall in the near future vignerons would find themselves in the same situation as 2010 when the area was gripped by drought.

“I woke up a much happier man on Sunday because we had just over 56mm of rain during the night,” Mr Doyle said.

However, according to his records Mr Doyle’s vineyard has still received 75.5 per cent less rain in the last 12 months than in the previous year.

  Evaporation levels are also 22 per cent higher than last year due to the hot weather, which Mr Doyle says will impact on the fruit.

“Growers have had to irrigate to keep things going along,’ he said.

Mr Doyle said, however, compared to last year when Orange recorded higher levels of rainfall over the summer, vines were free from disease.

“There really is no disease at all which is a positive,” he said.

Mr Doyle said while more rain would be welcome, too much torrential rain could impact adversely on the upcoming harvest.

“What we certainly don’t want to see is any of the hard rain,” he said.

He predicts producers who grow “fizz”’ or champagne-style varieties should be ready to start harvesting in two weeks under current conditions.

In the Orange region 60 per cent of plantings are for red wine varieties, with 40 per cent planted out to white wine varieties.

Of the red varieties in the Orange region, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon are the most widely planted with merlot and pinot noir also gaining ground.

Chardonnay and sauvignon blanc are the two varieties that dominate the white wine plantings.

Other white varieties growing in popularity are pinot gris and riesling with smaller amounts of marsanne, gewurztraminer, semillon and the Italian variety verdicchio.

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