Spring may come around every year, but that doesn’t stop us from being just a little excited when it does.
Warmer weather, longer days, golden evenings with chilled wines and crunchy chlorophyllic salads: everything is fresh and vibrant and there’s a sense of anticipation for the season ahead.
Nowhere is the feeling of new beginnings as apparent as in the vineyards.
After several months of slumber, the vines are starting to wake up. The first signs of new life are the barely-discernable buds cautiously poking their woolly heads up before sending out their tendrilly shoots which unfurl to reveal verdant green leaves.
Saint Clair vineyard manager Les Masters says the Chardonnay at our Cellar Door block led the way with bud break in mid-September, earlier than usual.
The weather can be pretty changeable in Marlborough at this time of year, and the tender new growth is at risk of frost until November, although he tries not to lose too much sleep over it.
“If you start worrying too much, you lose your hair,” Les says.
“This time of year is usually pretty cruisey – as long as there’s no frost.”
He’s already had a couple of early wake up calls (literally) thanks to cold temperatures.
The frost machines situated at our Ben Morven and Omaka vineyards send him a text message when temperatures drop to 2C (32F).
“That usually gives me enough time to roll out of bed and make a coffee before I head out to the vineyard and make sure the machines are working properly.”
Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough’s main grape variety, is in the early stages of bud burst now, and viticulturists will be keeping a very close watch on the forecast over the coming weeks.