Huge deluge tops up vineyards

Welcome rains across vineyards in the region has not put too much of a dampener on annual pruning schedules, but some services have felt the impact of the seven-day state COVID-19 lockdown.

Ackland Vineyard Services managing director Aaron Ackland said the business had taken a “fairly cautious” approach over the last week, putting some of his pruning staff on hold despite being able to officially work as an essential service.

“About 70 per cent of our pruning workforce is based in the northern suburbs of Adelaide,” Mr Ackland said.

“We’ve taken the approach to be fairly cautious with it initially only being a seven-day lockdown, if it goes longer than seven days it will have an impact going forward and we’ll have to deal with that if it happens.”

The business’s labour manager Ryan Longmire said recent rain was a welcome boost across Clare Valley’s vineyards.

“We’ll prune over two million vines throughout the Valley this season and we’re about 40 per cent of our way through so we have a very busy month ahead of us,” he said.

“We’ve probably lost only about seven days in total due to wet weather, but we’re not complaining.

“We’ve had very good rainfall through June and July, well above average and we’re well in front of this time last year.

“This wet soil profile will give us a good kick start to the season and the vines will get off to a good start, and hopefully put us in a position for an above average season.”

Mr Ackland said more rain would boost things along even further, and he was hoping to see some “run off”.

“It’s been great to see a bit of run-off, we’ve lost a few days working due to rain, but it’s really a good thing in the end,” he said.

“Hopefully it keeps raining and we will hopefully replenish dams, bores and aquifers.

“Over the last three or four years we’ve done winter irrigation so hopefully these good rains will mean we don’t have to do that this year.

“The rainfall will just help give the vines a bit of energy come spring time, even the dry-grown blocks should have a bit more energy to shoot away and hopefully get a bit more balance to yields across the Valley.”