Budburst has always been an exciting moment at Providence – when new life is first seen, heralding the start of a new growing season. This photo was taken on 23 September, about a week later than the standard (so much for global warming!). This is Pinot Noir on the Open Lyre trellis system, designed by Dr Alaine Carbonneau of the University of Bordeaux. In France this trellis is only seen on university campuses or outside defined appellation regions. It is an effective trellis for cool climates and quite productive; however, it is a management nightmare and I wouldn’t encourage its use. This is the time we contemplate the vagaries that each season brings. There is no such thing as the ‘usual’ season or the ‘norm’. Every season brings new challenges and 2012/13 will be no different!