Blue Poles Vineyard
Not long now...
With winter starting to recede, it will not be long before the vines complete budburst and are off and running for another vintage. Pruning is complete with the Viognier left till last, and is looking surprisingly good given its rather unique (which could be easily replaced by numerous expletives) growing style. Budburst has started on a number of the varieties and this is a few days earlier than the previous 3 seasons, with the Merlot actually about 10 days in front of schedule. I am pretty sure this can be explained by the mildness of the winter in 2007. To date we have had no temperatures under 1oC, and no frosts in the vineyard block (though there has been some mild frosts at the bottom of our block). The dropping of all the wires is nearly complete, a job for those who like to take a long walk. It was easier this year as many of the wires have been tidied and sorted out over the vintages, but by golly after 8km of walking each day and stopping every 6m to release the foliage wires it does get a tad tiring.
Budburst in the merlot
What to do…
With the end of winter, the Margaret River region starts to get refilled by tourists due to the beautiful place that it is. We have many people come through and catch up with us and one of the most common questions we get asked is “Where are the best places to visit?” The obvious answers are the wineries and towns but we have, after many years of living down south, devised a list of great and generally less expensive things you can do while touring the Cape to Cape region which is Margaret River. What we think are our best 10 suggestions (in no particular order) are set out below, such that if you ever make the trip to Margaret River you could jot down the ones that interest you and be assured that all have been tried and tested by my family many times!
1. Walk the length of the Busselton Jetty and visit the underwater centre at its end. Try to do the walk in the late afternoon and the sun slanting through the underwater centre makes the scenes truly spectacular.
2. Have a picnic either at Meelup Beach (north of Dunsborough) or in the Boranup Forest (south of Margaret River). Both spots are simply beautiful and very photogenic.
3. Visit the Cape Lighthouses at Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. Make sure you climb to the top and enjoy the panorama that the view provides. If at Cape Naturaliste during October / November go along the marked tracks to the coastal look out points and spot some Humpback Whales that are moving around the cape during this time of the year.
4. Climb the Injidup Sand dune at the end of Wyadup Rd. The walk along the Injidup beach can be broken up by a quick dip in the Indian Ocean and the vistas from the top of the dune looking both north and south are awesome.
5. Feed Elvis the giant manta ray at Hamelin Bay. Walk down to the waters edge near the boat jetty in Hamelin Bay during summer and you will see a group of Manta Rays that hang out waiting for fish scraps from the fisherman that come and go from the launch point. If you have never felt the skin of a manta ray you are in for a treat!
6. Go spelunking in the caves found along the Naturaliste ridge. There are about 5-6 caves that are accessible with the best being Mammoth, Lake and Jewell Caves down near Boranup.
7. If you enjoy playing tennis then there is a treat in store for you. Every Saturday and Sunday during summer the Busselton Tennis Club is open to visitors on their most picturesque grass tennis courts by the jetty at the top of town. Rock up between 1-2pm and have a feel of Wimbledon for about $5, a bargain for a day’s play. (Importantly I insist that you have a drink in the bar with Geoff afterwards to cap the day off.)
8. Go crabbing or fishing along Geographe Bay. During late spring and summer the whiting and herring are very close to shore and can be caught quite easily during the evening with a hand rod, and also the blue swimmer crab migrates close to shore in the evening and they can be “scooped” out and taken away for a feasting. Be aware of size and catch limits but for an evenings entertainment and a chance to eat some of the best fish and crab around, it is top fun.
9. Every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month is Market Day in Vasse. Arrive by 8am to make sure you get the best bargains, with all the locals coming in with cakes, jams, vegetables, fruit, honey, soaps …. cheap and easy to move around you will find something that can only be found in Margaret River.
10. Bring some empty bottles and fill them with the most delicious olive oil from our neighbors at 34oSouth Olive Oil (or simply buy the oil by the bottle). Found at the southern end of Jindong-Treeton Rd, off the track but sensational fresh extra extra virgin olive oil can be assured.
Lastly of course get in contact with us here at Blue Poles Vineyard and we will do our best to arrange a private tasting of our wines. Our house has been built with your interest at heart so from 2008 we would be very happy to meet with you and to enjoy your company.
Chickens in the merlot
Mild is about right …
The weather can only really be described as “mild”, no storms barreling through the vineyard as was the case last year, no frosty mornings freezing the grass … simply put it has been “mild”. With budburst upon us then I guess this is the weather we are after and with the month again being quite wet, a few drying days will bring the vineyard to life in a big hurry. The numbers for the month and last year’s figures are provided below:
August 2007: Avg Maximum Temp 17.3oC (Daily Max recorded 19.8oC)
Avg Minimum Temp 10.5oC (Daily Min recorded 5.7oC)
The 2007 maximum and the minimum temperatures were very similar to last years figures with only a slightly higher average minimum temperature being the major difference and this is due to the higher cloud cover and reduced southerly winds that never really set in this year. Rainfall is slightly more in 2007 and the rainfall is expected to drop quite significantly from September on as the summer weather patterns start to dominate the region again.
August 2006: Avg Maximum Temp 17.9oC (Daily Max recorded 22.1oC)
Avg Minimum Temp 9.7oC (Daily Min recorded 5.0oC)
With the winter blues receding into the distance it is time to get some of the spring jobs on the go. Some liming and fertilizing of sections of the vineyard will be a priority, as will be some small touch up sprays to keep the ground clear around our vines. The roses are looking a bit bedraggled so they will need a good tidy up and if the vineyard is dry enough we will get the mulcher in to clean up all the prunings left mid row. It is quite a busy time as we set up for the vintage, but with the days getting longer and the weather warming it is great to be out amongst the vines.
All the best everyone.
Blue Poles Vineyard