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Haydn Millard
 
1 September 2017 | Haydn Millard

Spring in Margaret River

The South West winter is always cold and wet and as such Spring is always a warm and welcome relief. Wildflowers begin to appear on roadsides, in the forests and on the green grazing pastures where we see lambs and calves begin to take their first shaky steps. The days become longer and warmer and the beach becomes inviting once more.

Meanwhile, in the vineyard the vines begin to wake up from their annual dormancy with green shoots reaching for the sun. Tiny clusters of flowers form, which will in time become bunches of grapes from which we make our wine. Bees busily collect nectar, pollinating the vines as they do. It’s an exciting time, it’s the beginning of another vintage.

During spring I am most often spending my days walking the rows of the vineyard,adjusting trellising and thinning shoots from the vines. This lets the canopy stand upright, capturing the sun to ripen the grapes while allowing the dry wind to blow through the vines keeping them healthy. This begins in October when the new season’s shoots are only about 30cm tall however by December when the growing is done and the trellis is set, the vines stretch well above head height. At this stage there are no more flowers, only small bunches of grapes slowly ripening day after day.

The weather changes dramatically in this time too. At the beginning of spring the mornings are cold and the vineyard is wet with dew or even the occasional frost. The days are often windy and cool but the sun is warm. By the time summer rolls around and the grass begins to dry out the days are hot and the shade of the taller vines is certainly welcome.

While all this is happening in the vineyard there is no shortage of work to be done indoors. During Spring Nathan and I prepare our wines from the previous year to be bottled and in November the whole Brown Hill team is together busily bottling our wines, carefully prepared and packaged and ready to be sent out into the world.

All in all Spring is a great time. It’s a time of new beginnings as well as of a time of finishing tasks begun long before. All the while it is a time to be surrounded with the sort of beauty that Margaret River offers which nowhere else in the world can match.

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