Prayers continue as the green black thundery clouds develop indigestion behind Mount Canobolas and remind us that, in this game, each vintage is a blessing.
December is the business end of the growth cycle with the completion of flowering in the Cabernet Sauvignon by Christmas, and the division of the canopies into their Scott-Henry configuration for the berry development and ripening phase. Timing in canopy division is critical..too early and you'll break soft fresh shoots out of their sockets; too late and sudden exposure will sunburn your young bunches and you'll understand the meaning of the term "jungle warfare".
Depending on effective rainfall, we continue with irrigation to keep the vine ticking over. By this time shoots have finished growing and the energy of the vine is being increasingly directed towards the developing bunches.
Late December is when we see the first signs of any developing powdery mildew in the vineyard if our Sulfur sprays haven't been effective. You can have half a day off on December 25th if everything is under control but you'll probably be spraying Boxing day.