Summer News

Posted on March 01, 2013 by Bob Tyrrell


This has truly been the most eventful summer we have experienced.

Cellar Door success

Our visitors to the vineyard have greatly enjoyed the facilities of our newly completed Cellar Door.  Our new opening times of Saturday and Sunday from 11.00 are very popular as is our new offering of cheese platters which encourage visitors to take pause in the new Wine Pavilion and enjoy our environment and the view.  The pavilion has also proven to be a most sociable setting and we notice many new acquaintances being made by people at adjacent tables.

A little drama though!  Just before Christmas at tree 15 metres from the Cellar Door was struck by lightening and exploded like a bomb – hurling great 100 Kg splinters of timber over a 50 to 75 metre radius.  The side of the Cellar Door was destroyed by four of these missiles just three months after it was completed.  We were both were in there with three guests and it was a miracle no one was hurt

Everyone said we should buy a lottery ticket.  We did – but didn’t win.  We had already had our good luck!

In the vineyard

After arguably the coldest and wettest growing season in 30 years last vintage, this year started of brilliantly.  We had no early season frost which is always a worry for the Riesling – there was plenty of moisture in the soil so we did not mind missing out on spring rain and there was an abundance of a beautiful sunny spring days which meant much less spraying for fungal disease.

Then disaster struck.

Spray drift

In October a neighbor spraying for blackberry or similar weeds with a hormonal herbicide seriously damaged our Shiraz block and affected Riesling and Cabernet vines.  The damage was caused by spray drifting downwind onto Dryridge.  Some vines have been lost and many others will take two or three years to recover. 

The person(s) responsible was either not qualified to spray with these chemicals and/or was seriously irresponsible in their use.  Unfortunately we have no redress without being able to identify the property from which the drift occurred.


The wonderful beginning to the growing season slowly became a nightmare.  By mid January we had had only 25 mm of rain per month for the previous six months.  The lawns were bare of any grass and some garden plants that had grown happily for 12 years began to die.  Our tanks were empty and the bore had dried up.  We used the last of our dam water to give the vines the best soaking we could.

Five days later it rained – over 100 mm of soft beautiful rain that literally saved the crop.


Four weeks later on the weekend of 23/24 February just past over 150 mm of rain fell in eight hours from the cyclone that came down the coast from Queensland.  We were not the only ones in NSW to be impacted – but impacted we were.

The Megalong Creek at the Old Ford Reserve just down the road rose to 2.2 metres above the causeway.  Roads are washed out, the vineyard is sodden and we will have trouble getting machines on to the vineyard without getting bogged.


The late February rain could not have come at a worst time for the vines.  Despite our vigilance in spraying for fungal disease an outbreak of bunch rot and botrytis is highly likely, but these are the challenges we vignerons have to deal with.


We expect harvest will be early this vintage - in the second week of March for the Riesling which we will be picking for new vintages of our Blue Mountains Riesling and Lady Barbara.  Cabernet for our Nellie’s Cabernet Rose will be picked at the end of March.

Our target is to harvest 20 tons of grapes. 

CLUB MEG program

After the success of the last CLUB MEG lunch 1 December last year, we are planning  the next lunch for April after vintage.  Separate advice will be sent to our CLUB MEG members as soon as possible.


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