Vineyard Preparation 2020

One might assume winter heralds in a quiet period for our vineyard, with dormant vines bedding down for a well-earned rest and our groundsmen putting their feet in front of a roaring fire, and while true to some extent, it is also a time to prepare the vines for growth. James, our vineyard manager, and his team are spending this week undertaking such work and have before them, a mammoth task. Each of our 17, 500 vines have to undergo a spot of pruning in order to get it ready for spring and to give it the best possible chance of producing a bountiful harvest. It’s also a chance to rid them of any disease or mildew that may have infected the wood before it spreads too far.

Having spent the last year growing and climbing ever upwards, often splitting into multiple canes from the roots, James has to select which of these canes he wants to keep, and which needs to be removed. Any canes with large knots, curves of twists in their trunks are immediately disregarded as the sap has to work harder to traverse them; and if this happens, the energy required to move this sap isn’t being put into creating the best possible grapes. In the long run, this will lead to a lower quality fruit crop and, in turn, lower quality wine. He also works to remove the older wood, as the younger wood produces a much better crop.

At the moment, the vines aren’t tied down as this would leave them prone to snapping. However, this puts them in an ideal state for pruning. Later in spring, when the ground reaches 10c and the sap begins to flow, the vines will become more malleable and the team can revisit each vine and gentle tuck it into the fruiting wire to maximise it’s exposure to the sunlight – especially needed in the UK as we’re not as prone to sunny days as wine producers in sunnier climes.

Whilst pruning and removing multiple vines, James also cuts his selected vine down to size. Each node, where fruit will eventually grow from, needs to be spaced out enough to ensure that each bunch of fruit isn’t in competition with one another and fighting for survival. After this, the team remove the vines and burn them to ensure that any spores or dormant diseases are completely removed allowing the vines to continue to thrive and, hopefully, produce our first harvestable crop in 2020.

Check out the video below for more information from James himself. If you fancy a tour of our vineyard, you can do so by visiting this page