… and the sky is… SUNNY! (apologies to the Mama’s & the Papa’s for destroying the lyrics of possibly one of the greatest songs of all time. I’ll wait while you click on the link and have a listen. And a prize goes to anyone who can tell my why on earth they are huddled in a bath next to a toilet on that album cover??!)
Anyway, where were we?
Ahhh, Autumn. My absolute favourite time of the year.
Especially in the beautiful Adelaide Hills where the leaves are turning all sorts of amazing colours. This is an approximation of what I should be seeing out the window of the cellar bar right now…
But, because like many of you, I am working from home, you will have to make do with a photo from my front garden…
Most of the grapes throughout the Adelaide Hills have been harvested now. There may be a few late-ripening varieties hanging in there, but with some good rain predicted this weekend, I’d say even those ones will be picked sooner rather than later.
Temperatures in most Australian grape-growing regions are warm enough for vines to retain their leaves for a period of time after grapes are harvested. In cooler regions like the Adelaide Hills, it is usually only a few weeks.
So, right now we’re starting to see all that gorgeous colour change throughout our vineyards.
This morning I took a drive to one of my favourite spots in Carey Gully to get a few photos for you…
While it wasn’t quite as spectacular as I had hoped it would be, you can already see the leaves changing.
I’ll try to get another one from the same spot next week to show you the transformation, but I wanted to get in before the rain this weekend.
So, what is actually happening inside the plant when the leaves change colour?
It’s got a fancy name called…
Senescence is simply the process of ageing in plants.
In grapevines, the harvesting of the fruit sets off the release of certain hormones designed to start this process. Chlorophyll in the leaves (the stuff that makes them green) is degraded during senescence and reveals carotenoids – they are the organic compounds that give things like corn, pumpkin and tomatoes their yellow, orange and red colour. The colours of Autumn!
Leaf senescence has the important function of recycling nutrients (mostly nitrogen), to growing and storage organs of deciduous plants. So, in grapevines, those important nutrients are sent to the trunk and roots. This keeps the vines alive and healthy over Winter ready to do its important work again in Spring.
It’s a pretty good idea to give the vines a good feed of nitrogen-rich fertiliser about now too, just to give them that extra boost.
Environmental stress can bring on senescence early. You can see in this photo I took (right) that the colour isn’t even across the vineyard. The main reason for that is probably water-stress and difference in the soil across the site.
And check out this photo (left). It seems like just one of those vines is a lot further along the senescence timeline than the others. There could be a couple of reasons for that – mechanical damage (a whack from a tractor perhaps?) or it could have a virus.
And NO… not that kind of virus!
STIMULUS PACKAGES FOR YOU!
Suited to our times.
Wishing you good humour, good neighbours, good fun, good health, good food and wonderful wine!
Love, the Somerled Team xxx