To assist with vine training, a trellising system was installed last November. Trellising installation is a big job and it took our team 6 weeks to get the job done. We opted for steel posts because steel lasts longer than wood and steel facilitates easier working of the fruiting and foliage wires which the steel posts support and which need to be adjusted in order to support the growing vines. Our fruiting wire is approximately 0.8m above the ground which makes for easier picking when the grapes are harvested by hand as they will be in 2017 when we have our first harvest. If you've ever picked grapes from a lower fruiting zone you will understand the disadvantage in terms of bending down and/or continuous sitting and standing up!
A big task that we undertook in February was our first winter pruning. We did this ourselves with some help from two very good friends. Winter pruning of our 11,000 + baby vines involved cutting them down to two buds/nodes which creates the best chance of one strong shoot emerging at the start of the growing season this year which will be the trunk of the vine for decades to come. As the vines had grown really well in their first year this meant cutting quite a lot of healthy growth which seemed a little counter intuitive but, for a number of reasons, it's definitely the right thing to do. It also meant that Ann-Marie had the opportunity to craft some pruning sculptures including the fabulous pruning globe!
The next few months will see the vines growing and coming to life again and we'll be busy with weed control, soil management, mowing and progressing our plans for a sustainable state of the art winery. It's been a bonus that grass is regenerating naturally between the rows of vines; a sign that our strategy for weed control in the first year is paying off.