Viticulture at Cape Landing

Margaret River GI

Regional Significance

Margaret River sits in the middle of the Naturaliste-Leeuwin Capes Region of south-western Western Australia, a peninsula just under 100 kms in length from Cape Naturaliste in the North to Cape Leeuwin in the South and bordered on 3 sides by the Indian Ocean (to the North and West) and the Southern Ocean (to the South).

Cape Landing itself is located just 12.9 km’s from the Indian Ocean. We hear the ocean from our vineyard!

“The Naturaliste-Leeuwin Capes Region is one of the most remarkable and geographically isolated wine regions in the world.”

Geography, soils and a Mediterranean maritime style climate combine to create ideal grape-growing conditions – heavy winter rainfalls (the most of any wine growing region in Australia), low risk of frost, cool sea breezes that give vibrancy to the fruit, and a long, dry ripening season providing even temperature accumulation which goes a long way towards, ripening our fruit, particularly the Cabernet Sauvignon, right to the end of the growing season.

Grapevines tend to favour ‘temperate’ climates, which mostly fall within distinct latitudes of 30˚ and 50˚ from the equator. Margaret River sits well within this range at 33°55’S. Average annual heat degree days/sunshine hours, a good indicator of the warmth of a climate during the vine-growing period, puts the Margaret River wine region (at 1,626 hours) comfortably between the Bordeaux region of France (1,472 hours) and the Nappa Valley region of California, USA (2,118 hours).

“With a unique biodiversity: 80% of all plant species found in the Naturaliste-Leeuwin Capes Region are found nowhere else in the world.” 

Viticulture at Cape Landing

Canopy Management

Cape Landing was first planted in 1998 with Cabernet Sauvignon (2.5ha), Syrah/Shiraz (1.96ha), Chardonnay (3.68ha) and Sauvignon Blanc (4.19ha). 

The vineyard is gently sloping, well drained, and its soil profile consists primarily of Treeton Low Slopes with gravelly duplex (Forest Grove) and pale grey mottled Mungite, perfectly suited to making fragrant, textured and pure wines.  

Vine rows are oriented north-south, and a vertical shoot positioning trellis system is used throughout Cape Landing.

Winemaking at Cape Landing begins in the vineyard. We are meticulous in everything we do but managing the vine canopy (the portion of a vine above the ground formed by the shoot system – the leaves, petioles, shoot stems, shoot tips, lateral shoots and tendrils, and the fruit, trunk and cordon/canes) and manipulation of the canopy microclimate, is our primary consideration and a key indicator of superior quality wines for Cape Landing.

Primary viticulture techniques include

Winter Hand Pruning

manages future shoot location and density. As an established practice at Cape Landing, we prune our Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz vines up to 6 weeks early, to promote early bud burst, accelerate growth and provoke a longer growing season for our red wine varietals.

Shoot Thinning (De-Suckering) and Positioning

affects shoot density and shoot location.

Leaf Plucking

especially around the fruit cluster zone. Removal of shade and greater exposure of the fruit.

Yield Thinning/Reduction

maintains consistent yield and fruit quality of fruit.

Shoot thinning and leaf plucking, which increases the space between canes and fruit clusters and reduces shading provided by the canopy, is particularly important at Cape Landing. It allows more sunlight/energy to reach the fruit clusters, leaves and the buds that will provide fruit clusters in the following growing season improving wine quality and fruit yield, and it also allows afternoon sea breezes to dry cluster zones, especially after later season rainfall, reducing the risk of disease.

Manipulation of cluster zone microclimates to reduce humidity and assist the rapid drying of wet fruit clusters is particularly important in the management of botrytis bunch rot. 

Open canopies improve spray coverage but use of canopy management techniques becomes even more important late in the season when withholding periods imposed by the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) for agrochemicals used in the vineyard for export market wines destined, restrict late season use of sprays.

Leaf/shade reduction is applied selectively, and as required, to different vine varieties. In general, whilst our white grape varieties, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, have varied levels of shade retained throughout the growing season to protect fruit from over exposure to sunlight, our red grape varieties, Shiraz and, in particular, Cabernet Sauvignon, are typically exposed to sunlight throughout the entire growing season.

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Cape Landing, 1098 Calgardup Road
Forest Grove 6286, Western Australia
Mobile +61 4 8800 6169
Skype +61 8 6102 1098

p. +61 4 8800 6169 or +1 345 516 5512
e. mark.lewis@capelanding.com.au

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