Vintage 2019 is fast approaching, and if this hot, dry weather persists it could be a lot earlier than we initially thought. In the south it has been exceptionally dry and consistently warm to hot. The older vines seem to be handling it surprisingly well, courtesy of a very dry spring which enabled the survival of their deeper vine roots. Hence we are concentrating our irrigation efforts on the higher and more exposed blocks, and the younger vines that have yet to fully develop their deep root systems. With some pretty mizzly, drizzly weather during the flowering of some blocks, there are some smaller berries in bunches where the pollination was incomplete – hence I am expecting only fairly modest bunch weights and yields. Coupled with a continuation of this weather pattern, this will also accelerate veraison and ripening. In fact we are seeing the early signs of veraison ie berry softening and a little colour, in Pinot Noir berries in our earliest blocks. Ah, the joys of applying bird netting are not far away!!