Welcome to a new growing season

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Vineyard

Visitors to the vineyard and tasting events regularly ask  ’Is this the quiet time at the vineyard?’

In response I usually roll my eyes. Work at the vineyard continues throughout the year. We seem to have just finished three months of pruning and the tiny buds have burst from the canes so it is time to apply protection from fungi to maintain the vine health. Like a child at kindergarten our small block of Chardonnay is particularly susceptible to pests in the form of damaging moths and fungus infection which can spread to the Shiraz if we are not vigilant in our crop protection.

The warmer weather encourages the growth of grasses in the vineyard so mowing is an ongoing task for fire protection during summer and to provide clear access to the vines.

In a few months the vines will flower and move on to set fruit. At this time we will thin out bunches and manoeuvre the canopy to ensure sunlight and air can penetrate the rapidly developing fruiting shoots, supporting the development of fruit with the ideal characteristics for fine wine making.  And this just takes us up until the beginning of December!



Vale Laurie

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Vineyard

She-Oak Hill is deeply saddened by the death of our much loved and admired friend, teacher and inspiration,  Aurellio ‘Laurie’ Conforti who worked tirelessly at She-Oak Hill for thirty seven years. His integrity, knowledge and passion for our vineyard will be greatly missed. He will remain always in our hearts and among our vines.



Delights of Autumn

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Vineyard

Autumn is a beautiful time at She-Oak Hill.  As the vines gently work  to store carbohydrate reserves in their canes and trunks before losing their leaves and becoming dormant for 3 months, we can relax and enjoy the bright sunshine and mild conditions during the day. In the evenings  the clear skies provide a wondrous display of planets and stars, never seen in the city where urban lights pollute the night sky. In fact the  Astronomical Society of Victoria have a Dark Sky Site at Heathcote which members of the public can visit twice a year

So far this year we have barely needed to light the wood stove but as winter approaches the Nectre baker’s oven will provide comforting warmth and be the center of activity as I prepare slow cooked meals, ox tail and lamb shanks are favorites, and hearty soups.

Our olives are ripening and the vegetable patch is being prepared for winter planting. The nets have come down from the orchard of peach, nectarine and apricot trees and the fruit in the citrus grove is beginning to color.

We have time now to invite friends for picnics and meals, purchasing most of the ingredients from local farmers markets and enjoying the rewards of the labor of  our market friends with a glass or two of our own wine.

How satisfying and emotionally nourishing this is.  Should you be in the Heathcote wine region during the next few months give us a call, we would be happy for you to visit  and share this  delightful time with us.


Patience & Anticipation

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Vineyard

Growing fruit for premium wine is all about patience and anticipation. Over the growing season, from early September until late March, we must anticipate the risks to fruit from the weather, from disease and from pests in the vineyard. Frosts, strong winds and excessive rain have the potential to be just as damaging as long dry spells and excessive heat.

With predictions of a hot dry summer it was important to anticipate the crop load the vines would be able to bring to maturity without stress. During December many hours were spent going through each individual vine, counting the bunches per shoot, checking the length of the shoots and fastidiously reducing the crop to one bunch per shoot.

Now, a week out from harvest, we are patiently awaiting the excitement of picking. The vines are looking good and the fruit has amazing flavor. Six months of dedicated effort is looking like it will result in a special wine which we look forward to sharing with you.