25 Oct 2011

It couldn't happen again, could it? Could it? 
Maybe it could and it just possibly is.
What I mean here is a re-run of the completely absurd 2010-11 growing season which was apparently the second-wettest on record (I think 1974 may have beaten it).
As I recall, it started to rain in September and just kept going, all the way through until May. It was not biblical, even though there was plenty of flooding. We also had plenty of pestilence and that's what has prompted this blog.
Weather conditions for this growing season are looking disturbingly similar to last year. We have had plenty of rain and humidity--lovely conditions for disease outbreaks in vineyards. The particular curse at the moment is Downy Mildew:



Here it is on a leaf. It also attacks bunches, stems and canes. With the right conditions, it can devastate a vineyard in a matter of days. The primary infection is likely to occur when we have the so-called 10-10-24 scenario--10 mm of rain with temperatures over 10 C over a 24-hour period. If it takes off and the secondary infection runs rampant, look out.
We have noticed a few primary infections in the vineyard but only one a few water shoots which we have now pruned off and removed. We are guessing that there was such a large carry-over of spores from last season that the disease pressure right now is higher than it has ever been. 
We remain vigilant!