At winter pruning in January and February each vine was individually assessed and a decision was made as to whether the vine was ready to bear fruit. Kristina had to take a back seat due to an ankle injury (she was gutted to miss out) so Ann-Marie did most of it herself with help from casual labour and trusted friends with previous experience. We were happy to be in a position where most vines were looking very well established and up to bearing fruit.
Then the vines were tied to stakes and to the fruiting wire to keep them growing in the right way. Where the vines were growing really strong, the existing vine guards were replaced with mesh. The mesh is necessary to protect the vines from rabbits who have a habit of knawing at the developing trunks. Kristina was recovered by then and back to vineyard work.
Spring was marked by some very cold nights bringing the risk of frost. Frost can severely damage buds resulting in damage to or destruction of emerging shoots and so a reduction in crop. 17 April saw the worst early morning frost and we suffered some damage mostly to our early budding Rondo. We sprayed a frost protection product as we couldn't get our hands on frost protection candles from France as the manufacturer had sold out.
May has seen some great weather and the vines really coming to life with buds bursting, leaves unfurling and shoots growing. Flowers that will become bunches of grapes can be seen emerging. This rapid growth of vegetation needs careful management to keep the vines in balance in order to optimize the quality and quantity of the harvest. The process is known as 'bud rubbing' or 'shoot selection' and involves removing buds and shoots by hand that aren't needed. It's hard, laborious work and a key task.
Summer is nearly here and the vines are looking in great shape. Work has also been going on outside the vineyard for some time getting our winery construction plans finalised. We are very pleased and excited that construction is planned to start later in the year. Keep an eye on this space for further news about our winery building.