At this time of year the focus in the vineyard is on pruning. We remove around 90% of annual growth from each of our 44,000 vines, leaving just two canes on each vine (to give us fruiting shoots next summer) and two spurs (to give us the canes for the following year, for fruit in 2019). In a good year each shoot will produce two bunches of grapes, and how we prune now will determine whether we achieve that goal.
As we prune, each scar is coated in a protective paste to keep trunk diseases out, and the canes are arched and tied down. This exposes the lower buds and encourages even bud break on the cane later in the year (left un-arched the cane would grow vertically and the top bud would take all the glory.)
This year we’ve welcomed a team of skilled pruners to help us complete this mammoth task. The team of six has worked tirelessly, pruning all 27 miles of canopy in time for a well-earned break at Christmas. In the new year we’ll keep busy with more housekeeping – windbreaks, fertilising the soil – and wait patiently for the first buds to burst.