It’s not possible to separate any action in the vineyard from those that preceded or followed it as everything we do in the vineyard is influenced by what was done previously and in turn affects outcomes in the future. The appreciation of this complex interrelationship of life here on earth is what stands behind biodynamic agriculture. Any starting point for description of the vineyard year is thus arbitrary and necessarily refers to preceding events.
Our vineyard is dry grown. Whilst we enjoy a reliable pleasant climate we can suffer long dry summers and so preservation of soil moisture for vine growth is fundamental to our management. We do this by ploughing under the vines and in early winter this means turning soil towards the vines.
Pruning however is the big job taking all winter and done by hand. We cane prune using the single Guyot method. Over winter sheep graze the vineyard turning grass into manure for soil fertility.
After finishing pruning and a little rest, it’s back into the breech. Preparation 500 is sprayed as early as possible after the cold of winter. Ploughing now requires turning soil away from the vines to produce a weed free undervine area. The space between vine rows is mown and natural anti fungal treatments are applied. Canopy management is the big job lasting until mid summer.
We’re looking for downtime but canopy work, so important to allow disease prevention and optimal fruit development continues till the end of January or early February. Finally we have a few weeks break before beginning net application to protect the fruit from birds.
Harvest. The aim of it all. This is the best time in the year with all of our work now coming together but of course also able to be scrutinised. We harvest by hand and do all fruit selection in the vineyard. Harvest lasts 6-8 weeks and usually begins now in early March. As soon as the autumn rains begin we spray preparation 500.