A postcard from the Vineyard – 2nd Installment

Bud burst and bud rubbing

The warmth of April has accellerated growth in the vineyard and we have now reached a significant point in the vineyard calendar: bud burst. Once the buds have burst and the season has truly begun, the vines will begin to grow at quite a rate. It’s important to respond accordingly.

Our fertiliser was spread to a carefully controlled program developed with the assistance and advice of our agronomist John Buchan. This is very much a stocking up of the larder for the vines in order for them to have all the nutrients they need throughout the growing season.

Under-vine weed control was put into action in order to increase the vines’ access to both water and nutrition as well as to help reduce the risk of disease pressure.

With the vines now well under way and with approximately 90% of the buds burst, it is now that my attention is turned to the important process know as bud rubbing.

Since this year will be the first when the vines will bear a crop, over winter when pruning we left a strong cane growing from the ground to the fruiting wire which will become the trunk of the vine. That same cane was left long enough above the fruiting wire to leave between 6 to 10 buds that have now been tied down and will produce our first crop.

Buds that have developed or burst from below the fruiting wire must be removed in order to assist fruit development where it is intended on the wire, and not on the trunk. Removing unwanted buds will promote strong vine growth in the right place, and give me the ability to protect the vine from disease throughout the season.

Each vine is dealt with by leaving between ten and twenty centimetres worth of buds below the fruiting wire that will be next year’s replacement cane. Over time, this will develop into the crown of the vine. Everything from that point to the ground must be removed by simply rubbing or knocking off the buds, and by taking off the shoots. Although a simple task, it requires the worker to be thorough, have patience, and without doubt have a strong back. It is as detrimental leaving undesired buds on as it is knocking off the fruiting buds when undertaking the delicate task of lifting each guard.

This process is done every year as it is natural for the vine to strive for growth from the point closest to the roots, and is not uncommon to carry out this task twice per season. In this way, we hope to maximize the potential of the fruit to reach optimum ripeness to result in our first taste of Lympstone Manor.

— James Matyear, Vineyard and Grounds Manager