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Viticulture

The wine year begins

Time to prune!

About this time last year I planted up a vine nursery with about 70 cuttings from the main chasselas vines around the house. I had no idea at the time what it was I was planting – we’d moved in the winter when everything was dormant.. plenty of bird-eaten bunches lying on the vines.. but no clue as to what they were.

Well, having sucessfully got at least half of the vines through their second winter now, they all had a brutal pruning back to just 3/4 buds and many had whole stems taken out. I’ve installed a wire system for ‘guyot training’ so in this, their second summer, I shall take them up to the second wire (about 70cm) , trim back any over vigourous side shoots and see how they get on. They’ll be fine then for laying down two/three stems for guyot training and should give me productive vines in years to come.

Just one very old/mature vine alongside the garage netted 34kg of fruit last year. It transpires that this is far far too much to give any kind of quality for wine making. The wines from this vine have some sauvignon blanc character (minerally/herby, bone dry) but are just frankly a little bland. This is a big shame as the fruit quality was good, very mature, lots of sugars but I knew as I was eating them… just one bunch in about ten had a ‘wow’ type flavour… where the bouquet and aroma punched through the sugars.

Still. I have plenty of wine for cooking now and also five litres of white wine vinegar from an open-fermentation of all the skin pressings. Not a bad start.

As an aside Joan was clearing some banking at the end of the Orchard where we intend to install a ‘secret bench’ surrounded by what we think are our Pinot Noir vines…. and discovered a small group of 5/6 mature grapevines that last year just served as bird food. I’ll grub these up and replant them elsewhere.

Also taken, two dozen clippings from the Carrignan vine and a similar amount from the Chardonnay.

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