Winter ‘test’ for wineries amid virus restrictions
THE return of cooler weather has signalled the first seasonal change for Granite Belt winemakers, who have begun preparing their vines for the winter months.
Award winning winery, Summit Estate Wines have already recorded the first change, with some vines becoming dormant after recent frosty weather, according to cellar door manager Nick Pasley.
"They're all starting to change colour now; the vines will go to sleep sometime over the next few weeks," he said.
"We have given them its second last watering before the end of the season.
"If they go to sleep in a bad condition, they won't wake up in the best state either."
Significant rainfall to start the year has had little impact on the vineyard north of Stanthorpe, recording very little rain in storage dams.
Water storage would have been a welcome reprieve to the winery, who have had no yield for this year according to Mr Pasley.
"We got absolutely nothing this year (from our vines)," he said.
"Normally we'd be looking at eight to 10 tons but with the drought, about mid-December we were advised to drop most of the fruit because the vines were struggling.
"The ones we did leave on got hit by a hailstorm a bit later on.
"Even though we've had a bit of rain (to start the year), we didn't really catch anything in our dams."
The outbreak of coronavirus has only made it more difficult for the winery, who have had to close their cellar door to general public.
Now relying solely on online trade, Mr Pasley said the experience of wine tasting isn't the same.
"We've always had an online shop, but most people have always come through the cellar door," he said.
"With people being in lockdown, they are drinking more than they normally would and they're looking for something different that they can't get in a bottle store.
"So, we've had quite a few good web sales since the lockdown has happened."
Hopeful restrictions will soon be eased, Mr Pasley said the winery were working hard to ensure this year's vines would be in good condition when they wake in the spring.
"Having the vines go into the sleep in the best condition we can get them in, is a really good starting point," he said.
"After that, it's hoping we do have the wet winter they're saying we'll get."