A learning Curve
The first harvest in 2009 produced a nice crop. It yielded about 400 kg of grapes, which were not blighted by either mildew or botrytis. Steve and Maria were lucky (perhaps beginners luck!!)
2010 produced a much better yield (about a tonne from 400 still very immature vines), but the sugar content at harvest was lower than 2009. The wine produced was still excellent, but lacked the impact that the first years crop had (not by much, but Steve is a perfectionist)
2011, all was going well until mildew struck; within a few hours a blanket of mildew had clouded over the vineyard, destroying the crop. The rate of spread was impressive, the damage extensive.
2012 was a disaster, a promising start with a very mild spring resulted in very early promising growth of the vines. That all changed within a few fateful hours with a very late frost wiping out the young shoots – within hours the new growth on the vines had turned black from the frost and the crop never properly recovered during 2012.
Since then much has been learnt; spraying regimes have evolved using the very latest treatments – it became apparent that many vineyards use treatments developed many years ago and have not evolved to more modern treatments that require smaller quantities of chemicals and still use chemicals that diseases like mildew and botrytis have evolved to resist.