Now is the time to…

Focus on irrigation management
Vines have now completed flowering and most should have adequate canopies to ripen the crop load that has been set. Further canopy growth from this point is considered by some to be counterproductive because it requires higher levels of inputs of water and fertiliser, but also higher management inputs of trimming and spraying.
Irrigation management from this point on should be targeted at allowing the vine crops to grow and ripen. That means enough water to maintain photosynthesis and enough transpiration to cope with warmer weather events.

For reds, that means just enough irrigation to maintain vine function and protect it from heat events, but not so much that it continues to grow more canopies that need to be trimmed off. Tendrils should be starting to drop from this point and growing tips should be stalling.

Some whites require slightly more soil water potential to continue cell division in berries, but the risk is for tighter bunches later on that may be at risk of bunch rots, especially in Sauvignon Blanc.

Now is also the time to continue with your disease monitoring and control options.

Before you next spray, take the time to walk through your vineyard and get inside the canopies to have a look for disease. Find out if you need to adjust your program before it is too late and bunches close. Controlling disease in closed bunches is near impossible. 

We are near the time when berries are becoming resistant to disease, but this does not mean they magically throw off any disease that is already present, it means they are resistant to new disease infection from germinating spores.

Your best defences against most diseases is UV light and airflow so maintaining canopies with dappled light will be easier to control disease than canopies that are dense and layered.

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