|A snowy Albury Vineyard - photograph by John Powell|
There's only one job that has to be done during the winter months and that's pruning, pruning and more pruning.
We use the "double Guyot"training method which means that the two fruiting arms from last year have to be cut back and two new fruiting arms have to be carefully selected for the coming year. We also try and leave two stubs near the crown, which should produce the fruiting arms for the following year. All the old wood has to be pulled out of the trellis and burnt so that any disease is destroyed. The pruning wounds are sprayed with trichoderma which helps to prevent disease and heal the wound.
We have 21,000 vines in the vineyard so that's a lot of work! Fortunately Alex is always ahead of the game. Having started well before Christmas she didn't stop for the snow and pruning should be pretty well finished by the end of this week. We will leave pruning some of the Chardonnay that are in the frost prone areas until March, in the hope that it will delay bud burst until after the risk of frost.
The next job will be to tie the fruiting arms to the trellis. This year we are going to try biodegradable ties.