Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Green Shoots - No, not the economy!

The vines have only been planted two weeks and already they are bursting into life!

I'm sure that Stephen will say that it's due to the tip top quality of the vines he has sourced, John will claim that it's down to the preparation of the land, the Rootgrow guys will state that it's on account of their product, Ernst and Jo will say that its because of the expert planting and Ivan will claim that he talked to them every day. But who cares... they are alive and growing!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Terry's Trellising

Ivan (left) and the team

The trellising is now nearing completion thanks to Mike Terry, Ivan and the team. It will have taken about ten days to install the 120 wooden end posts, 1,700 interim posts, 8,500 bamboo canes and more than 10,000 metres of wire to support the vines as they grow.

In spite of some difficult ragstone at the southern end of the vineyard, the work will be completed on time thanks to the tireless efforts of the guys in spite of the weather!

Next task is to mulch the vines which will hopefully keep the weeds at bay. The mulch will now comprise about 40 tonnes of green waste compost (20mm) mixed with 600 cu metres of wood chip (50mm).

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Planting of the Vines (Pictures)

With Jo and her Planting Team from Germany

Ready to go!

Tim from Plantworks dipping the vines in Rootgrow

The first Vine? Well almost - Stephen broke the first!

Planting of the Vines

Video of the amazing Planting Machine

Having planted 8635 vines yesterday I am now the proud owner of a real vineyard.

The planting team from Germany arrived before 8.00am led by Jo (daughter of Ernst) and by the end of the day all the vines had been planted. All in all we planted 1723 Pinot Meunier, 2986 Pinot Noir, 2977 Chardonnay and 849 Syval Blanc on a plot of about 5 acres. Rows have been spaced 2m apart with 1.2m between the vines. All the vines were dipped in Rootgrow before planting, other than a control section of 100 in each of the major grape varieties.

The planting team who did a marvelous job were helped by various experts and willing helpers including Stephen, John Buchan, JB, Philip, not forgetting Roy who did a splendid job as official photographer and providing elevenses! Thanks also to Tim from Plantworks for supervising the application of the Rootgrow.

More pictures to follow.

Next is the trellising and then control of the dreaded weeds with mulch, which now looks like it will comprise a mix of 80% wood chip and 20% green compost!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

The Layout of the Vineyard

As our primary aim is to produce a high quality organic bubbly, the vines we have chosen for the initial 5 acres are predominantly the varieties used in Champagne i.e. Chardonnay, Pinot Noire and Pinot Meunier. However we are also planting some Seyval which is a variety which does well in the UK. This will be used along with some of the Pinot Noire, to produce a still Rose. Overall we will be planting around 8500 vines with row spacing of 2m and 1.2m between each vine. As the plot isn't square this equates to 60 rows varying in length between 16o to 190 metres.

Only 10 days now before we start planting!

The Trellising Arrives from Germany

Philip Goddard on the forklift

Last Thursday the trellising arrived from Germany and is now safely stored in Philip Goddard's barn at Home Farm. For 5 acres of vines we need 140 timber end posts, around 1700 intermediate posts and a huge amount of wire.

Whilst we could wait a year after planting before erecting the trellising I have decided to get this out of the way early on and the job should be erected by the end of May.

Bunnies and Bambi Keep Out

Jeremy Curling still smiling!

The boundary fencing for the new Vineyard is nearing completion with more than 1000 metres of deer and rabbit fencing. Jeremy Curling is erecting the bunny and bambi proof fence, shown here putting in one of the many large posts around the vineyard.