Learn about the beautiful marri tree blossom and why it’s so significant to winemakers and viticulturalists during vintage.
Climate and soil are the most important factors when it comes to grape-growing, but did you know that the marri tree blossom plays a big part in Margaret River viticulture, too?
The marri blossom is a beautiful flower featuring fine hairs that fan out like a hat. Every year or two the flower blooms, transforming most of Margaret River’s treescape from green to yellow-white each summer.
While beautiful, there’s more to the marri blossom than meets the eye. A valuable food source for many of the region’s native animals (including the bee, which makes delicious honey from the flower’s nectar), the blossom also helps viticulturalists protect their prized grapes from hungry birds.
Just before vintage, the Margaret River wine industry turns their attention to the marri trees and their tiny flowers. The quantity of marri flowers help them estimate the amount of bird pressure they’ll have on their grapes – the more flowers on the trees, the less birds on the vine, and vice versa.
In 2019, for example, there was very little marri blossom in the region, resulting in high bird pressure. Thanks to plenty of marri blossoms all over Margaret River now, this year’s vintage is looking much more promising.
Alas, not all of the birds can be kept away by the sweet nectar of a marri blossom. To combat the birds from damaging a vineyard’s grapes, winemakers cover each of the vines with nets – a typical sight from February to April. It’s a sure-fire way to keep the birds at bay, and the grapes growing all day.