January 2017: Vineyard News

December 20 2016

The recent cold snap has pushed the vines into dormancy a little quicker than in previous years and I’ve found it hard to resist the urge to start pruning now all the leaves have dropped off. I’ve made a start but have until next March to finish all 38 rows, so it’s a gradual process

The recent cold snap has pushed the vines into dormancy a little quicker than in previous years and I’ve found it hard to resist the urge to start pruning now all the leaves have dropped off. I’ve made a start but have until next March to finish all 38 rows, so it’s a gradual process.  Some vineyards get external teams of labour to blitz the pruning very quickly but I am a bit of a control freak and like to do it myself. Each vineyard row has between 60 and 80 plants in it and there are around 2,500 plants in total. This might sound like a lot but an area of 1 hectare is actually a relatively small vineyard.

Because pruning is such a repetitive process I get very good at quickly assessing which parts of the plant to remove and which to leave to achieve the perfect amount of grape potential for next summer. I say ‘potential’ because dodgy weather at the wrong moment next spring or summer can easily undo all the good intentions of my pruning decisions now. The theory of pruning is simple: leave too much growth on the vine and it will exhaust itself trying to ripen too many grapes next summer but chop too much off now and the opportunity to get a decent crop of grapes next summer is gone. Pruning doesn’t involve much leg movement so it can get a bit chilly sometimes and I often wonder how wild animals survive without a thermos and lots of food! 

There is a surprising amount of wildlife around at the moment whether it’s robins following my slow progress from the hedge or mice, shrews and spiders looking for shelter in the barns. Local wildlife often becomes more noticeable as cold weather forces creatures to find warmth and shelter amongst us humans.

As predicted, we’ve now sold out of our 2015 Pinot noir rosé – the few remaining bottles left in the shops are the last ones available. This has been an exciting year for us with new customers like the lovely Gallimaufry, Bulrush and Woky Ko. We’ve started doing our first group visits and have had some fun publicity in The Telegraph as well as mentions and interviews on Radio Bristol, BBC London and Radio 2. We’ve collaborated with the children’s laureate Chris Riddell on our wine label and have finally managed to get a sparkling wine in production! Our sparkling wine won’t be ready until some time in 2018 but the new Pinot rosé will be out in the spring of 2017, so watch this space!

 

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