Warburton looks as though it’s going to have an annual rainfall for 2020 of around 2000 ml (or 80 inches) - which hasn’t happened for at least 20 years. While the vineyard’s a muddy mess, you can see looking at the pruned vines that the sap’s risen earlier than in 2019 and the buds look fuller, meaning budburst will be a full two weeks sooner than last year, and maybe three. In turn, the Mount Victoria aquifer is full to bursting, with new springs everywhere, so we can be completely happy that we won’t need to irrigate this year.
But it’s time for the rain to stop! There are early sprays that any vineyard needs to put on in late winter, like winter oil and lime sulphur, to suppress mites and kill off mildew spores. Rain and slippery slopes makes that impossible.
But there have been some bright spots: an enormous daffodil burst, lime and lemon trees groaning with fruit, Camellias laden with blooms, spectacular tree growth and paddocks that look like golf fairways.
Forecasting vintage outcomes is like betting on the Melbourne Cup in January; but we feel in our bones that 2021 will be a ripper.
Meanwhile, the wines in barrel are looking better and better. If you’d asked us at vintage what we thought, we would have said, maybe more in hope than expectation, that the wet and cool ripening months would produce wines that were light-bodied but still fragrant, layered and appealing.
In one of those unforeseeable vintage swerves, we have been delivered wines that are indeed medium-bodied, but with intense, precise fragrance and clear, layered and appealing structure. Using a musical analogy, they’re JS Bach cantatas rather than Beethoven symphonies, but wonderful notwithstanding.
Our only regret is that our crop was 40% down on 2019; and that the unusually long period we were forced to hold our vines under nets (of course without spray) let to some mildew we couldn’t control. This won’t impact on 2021 but it does mean we’ll need to be super careful with our pre and post-budburst vine spraying and management to ensure that the vineyard remains pristine all season.
We’ve updated our website (www.wildfirewines.com.au) and added a number of new wines, with a few more to come. Take a look. You’ll also see that we’ve re-designed our label and logo to recognise the development of our business since foundation in 2018, and to communicate, we hope, our continuing commitment to simple, ethical and fair winemaking and selling.
We hope your spring has been as full of colour and promise as ours; we wish you safe passage through the COVID-19 labyrinth; and we would love to see you get to know our wines, and join the Wild Fire family for many years of future enjoyment.
John at Wild Fire Wines