Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Weeds are Back!

In May we planted around 13,000 new vines. The dry summer meant that they haven't grown as much as we might have hoped, but there has been some catching up as a result of the much needed rain during the last couple of weeks.

The rain has also resulted in copious amounts of weeds and rape returning to the vineyard. The initial 5 acres we planted last year are substantially weed free thanks to the woodchip mulch and the grass between the rows. However we haven't grassed the new blocks yet and we need to get rid of the weeds before seeding the grass. To solve this problem we have borrowed a stone burier which not only buries stones but shreds and buries the weeds. The task should be finished by Alex this week with the help of Mihaela and her team who are doing some back breaking work pulling out the remaining weeds from the woodchip.

If the weather is ok we will seed the grass between the rows next week.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Science of Viticulture

Peter Hayes lecturing at Brightwell Vineyard, Wallingford

On Monday I attended a Wine Skills Masterclass given by Peter Hayes. Peter is an expert in grape growing and vineyard management having spent more than 30 years in the Australian wine industry, including Director of Viticulture at Rosemount Estates.

We spent the day learning about numerous vine management techniques including canopy configuration, pruning influences, nutritional treatments and pest management; all with the aim of balancing vine development, crop load, quality and longevity.

Of particular note for our vineyard were various ways of reducing the risk of frost damage, including keeping an extra vertical cane until after the risk of frost damage and late pruning which can delay bud burst.

The more I learn about viticulture the less I realise I know!

PS The following is a link to an excellent paper titled "Practical Considerations for Reducing Frost Damage in Vineyards"