December 2017: Vineyard News
November is the one month of the year where there is no urgent vineyard work to be done.
November is the one month of the year where there is no urgent vineyard work to be done. This, you would think, would be a blissful thing. But in reality, going from working outdoors every day to no outdoor work actually feels a bit strange. I have to remind myself to make the most of this quiet time because before I know it I’ll be busy again and longing for a free morning to have coffee on Gloucester Road.
On some of the sunnier recent days, I’ve visited the vineyard to begin rolling up the bird nets I put up back in September. I like to reuse the nets each year so wrap each 100 metre-long section back onto a small roll ready to put up again at the end of next summer. This simple, repetitive task allows me to work but keep an eye on what’s around me including my latest vineyard dwellers, a pair of green woodpeckers. All summer long, these striking birds have been up and down the vineyard showing considerable interest in the trunks of the vines. I kept trying to sneak up on them to see what they were doing but it’s only recently that I’ve finally figured it out. Woodpeckers love ants and this pair had located the ants’ nests beneath the polythene weed sheet. Although a man-made product, I’ve noticed the black polythene sheet I have along each vineyard row provides a nice warm home for mice, voles, toads and insects and that these creatures are in turn providing food for something else – a great example of human influence having a positive impact on the diversity of a small area.
All of our 2017 grapes are, as we read, being made into wine. Our 2016 Pinot rosé has nearly sold out. Our 2016 sparkling is halfway through its traditional method winemaking process and will be disgorged around May 2018 ready for sale late 2018. I’ll be at a few Christmas markets over the festive period but do get in touch if you’d like some of the last few remaining bottles of this year’s rosé as recommended in the Guardian and on ITV’s Saturday Morning with James Martin!
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