All singing to the same tune

Just as the sky is home to many different birds, harvest is home to many different personalities.

The eagles soar, the owls are meticulous, the doves observe quietly, and the peacocks display colourful energy.

Getting the grapes crushed and into the tank, then all the way through ferment with the correct systems and analysis in place, takes great team effort and many different roles.

We had a workshop recently and learned all about how to approach our teams we will be leading during this busy time.

Day one will present us with a bunch of different faces and personalities; quiet, loud, serious, funny, and some not so funny.

Those with previous winery experience will have varying levels; some will make theirs known initially, while some may keep theirs quiet.

And those with no previous experience will have different learning styles, from wanting to read the SOP in detail before trying their hand, to the kinesthetic learner who wants to try things out straight away and learning on the job.

Before long, everyone will have a certain skill level, and it our role as supervisor to keep out team cog turning at ease.

The trick is to not let the quiet team members’ skills go unused, nor let the loud team members dominate. Balancing the doves and the peacocks shall we say.

And into the important mix also is the eagles and the owls. The eagles like to lead and oversee, and might get a bit annoyed with the vibrant peacocks and be unaware of the doves' sensitivities. The owls just care about doing everything in order and having a place for everything.. absolutely everything. This will please the eagle, frustrate the peacock, and the dove will most likely not voice much of an opinion at the time but that doesn’t mean they won’t be affected in some way or another.

A successful harvest team needs all these personalities, and knowledge and talent comes in many shapes and forms.

We can manage and organise a range of personalities far easier than we can the weather.

As usual at this time of year, it’s a topic on everyone’s mind and lips.

A big thanks to Rob Agnew from Marlborough Research Centre for putting together some numbers and stats from 2015 thus far, and the Vine Facts newsletter which offered an abundance of information.

So, looking back to February…We all know February was a hot month, but the mean temperature of 17.4°C was actually 0.3°C below the long-term average of 17.7°C. Although this may sound surprising, it was the slightly lower mean minimum average that caused this, not the mean maximum temperature. The mean maximum of 23.5°C was still 0.4°C above average. There were 12 days during February when the daily maximum temperature was 25.0°C or greater, and there were also 12 days when the overnight minimum was 10.0°C or less. In other words, overall in February there were cooler cools and hotter highs.

All eight weather stations (five in the Wairau and three in the Awatere) saw mean temperatures dip half or one degree Celsius from January to February, with the mercury rising again for March.

Sunshine hours were well above average during February, while rainfall and wind run were well below average.

Growing degree days; calculating the daily minimum and maximum temperatures to compare both seasons and locations within the same season, either anywhere around the world or within the same region or country.

For Marlborough’s growing season, the total growing degree-days recorded this February were slightly lower than February 2014, however, February 2015 had a higher mean maximum and lower mean minimum than February 2014.

Breaking Marlborough’s sub-regions up a little using the different weather station data, January 1 until March 9, West Wairau Planes received the most rain with 77.8mm, compared to Awatere Seaview which only received 18.7mm; Awatere Seaview has had the coolest average temperatures; Rarangi had the warmest March (to March 9); Central Rapaura and Blenheim looked to be the warmest overall, mind you we’re only talking .2°C of a degree when comparing some stations.

In a nutshell, this has been a hot summer. We’ve seen warmer daytime temperatures, higher sunshine hours and much lower rainfall.

Grapes have started to roll in to Marlborough, and although crops are lighter than last year the tune on everyone’s lips is that quality is fantastic.

So here we go. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the hot summer days we’ve enjoyed will have benefits reaped in Harvest 2015. Minimal rain over the next few weeks, mixed with lovely warm days will be wonderful thank you…. What is the postal address of Mother Nature to send that that sentence of request to please?




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