Dillions Vineyard

2021 vintage report

We took our very first crop this year at Dillions.  The vines have now had two winters in the ground and three summers.  So, still very young.

We had started the year only intending to take a small crop from the Bacchus but the Chardonnay have performed so well with strong trunk and cane growth we determined that we would crop them as well.

The pruning went very well at the start of the year and we had some very early sprays down for Phomopsis.

Then the April frosts came.  It was so cold that everything just stayed shut down for most of April.  We had the woolly buds and they kept and protected pretty well but we still ended up in the last week of April having temperatures of -3.5 C.  Not much protects against that and we essentially just ran out of candles and firewood – so we suffered about 30- 40 per cent damage I reckon to our primary buds.  Not a great start!

We then had very wet weather that followed meant that it took ages for the vines to really get going.  We had 145ml of rain in May, 120 ml in June and 130 ml in July (the wettest July on record).  August and September were pretty dry and we then had 155 ml of rain in October.  Very wet!

Funnily enough though, mildew was not our problem, we were well ahead with our spraying programme on that.  Botrytis though took its toll on us and that was due almost entirely to two things.  First we had a lot of wasp and hornet damage.  We were not aware that our site is such a magnet for them but we now know and can prep for that next year with more traps etc.  Second, the wet weather meant that our grapes swelled very quickly and had very think skins.  So we suffered a lot of splitting.  Those two things meant that botrytis had a field day!

Ripeness was obviously also a big problem.  We harvested the Bacchus on 15 October.  It was a beautiful day and we had 15 volunteers from the village out to help.  Brix ended up at 16.9 and TA at 6.4g/L.  The Chardonnay was  harvested on 1 November at 17.1 Brix.

In the end we were relatively pleased with what we took.  Our early yield forecasts (pre wasps and splitting) were for circa 2.75 of Bacchus and a bit less of Chardonnay.  We managed around 1.65T of Bacchus and 1.15 T of Chardonnay.  We dropped the PN and PM.  We have 3.6 HA here and just under 20,000 vines.  Bunch weights were not great but, as said, the vines are very young.

So we are pleased.  We have our first crop in the tanks down at Defined and we will see what results they produce.  The Chardonnay we will bottle and leave for 3 years and then see how it looks.  The Bacchus we will bring out next year.

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