Postcard from the Vineyard

The Lympstone Manor vineyard is coming to life as a new season of growth commences. The mammouth task of pruning 17,500 vines took place over the winter months, the cut wood carried by hand out of the vineyard row by row.

We began to see the buds begin to swell back in March, which due to a mild Winter and a favourable Spring, brought forward an early bud burst. Although this is a promising start to this important season, we now need to be mindful and cautions of those cold and potentially frosty Spring nights that still lie ahead, as the frost could damage the opening buds and young shoots.

Grapevines are true vines, unable to support themselves like a tree and in need of training on a suitable trellis system and so the next mammouth task is the tying down of the vines. We began to tie down the vines on 31st March with just a small team of five. As we spread out across the vineyard to undertake this task, social distancing wasn’t a problem and we adhered to guidelines strictly. Tying down the vines has been a particularly vital task this year. First each vine needs securing to its individual metal stake along what will now become the trunk. Then the remaining part of the cane that is above the fruiting wire is carefully bent down and secured to that wire, being very mindful not to knock off buds in the process. Each bud can then grow vertically into the trellis system, allowing us to manage and protect the fruit throughout the growing season.

The human world may be on pause at the moment, but nature carries on regardless. We look forward to some warm and dry weather particularly during the critical period of flowering of the vines, as well as throughout the summer months. The wet winter we have endured should serve us well as our deep clay subsoil will retain moisture and nourish the vines should we experience periods of drought. Our intention is to take a minimal intervention approach, doing treatments only when required and at the appropriate times.

In this way, it is our hope that our first harvest in September will result in the first Lympstone Manor wine which will be a fitting toast to this highly unusual and challenging year.

— James Matyear, Vineyard Manager