First day of Harvest for 2017 and we picked the Pinot Noir, an early start for our loyal pickers and an overcast day.. the weather was so kind to us.. the final result for the day is to see the grapes in open fermentation..
It sure is a super season this year, September to December is our growing season in Mudgee and not only are the vines producing great bunches of grapes, the kitchen orchard is producing as well.. figs, nectarines, apricots, mulberries and a few varieties of peaches..
The vines are racing ahead, September to December is our growing season here in Mudgee and we have experienced a super season with the excess amount of rain received over the past 4 months. Keeping up with vineyard maintenance has been a challenge with the rapid growth of the new vines and the more mature vines. We are looking after vines which are 3 weeks old to 32 years old. It’s been a busy time on Martins Hill. The fruit on the vines is developing ahead of time, maybe we will be picking that little bit earlier than normal in 2017…
Today I have finished building a new hotel for the insects, our hardest workers in this sustainable organic process are the sheep, the birds and the lady beetles.
The sheep maintain the floor of the vineyard and nurture the earth and add nutrients to the ground.
The birds eat the locust and larvae from the vine moth. There are currently thousands of birds living in the bird hides around the Martins Hill Organic Farm, owl faces, blue and scrub wrens, finches, pardalote, thrush, magpies and chuffs, the chuff is know as the farmer’s friend as they eat the larvae of locust directly from the ground.
The lady beetles hibernate over winter in our little hotel and emerge as adults ready to work on insect control. This pre empts the time taken for an adult generation to hatch from larvae laid the previous autumn. This saves us a month in our pest management.
The lady beetle is a carnivorous insect and feeds upon mites and aphids. She can eat up to 600 in a week.