These months are mainly taken up by pruning. What is cut is then pulled off the wire and burnt in a huge brazier on wheels, called a Chariot of Fire – a useful way to keep warm! The ash from this is later applied back onto the vines as a potash fertiliser.
Some prunings are used as cuttings in the new section of our vineyard, or potted up for later use. Once pruning is finished muck spreading starts. Horse manure from a local farm is one of our main fertilisers.
Vines are slow starters in Spring, and here the buds normally start opening early in the month. The shoots then grow quickly. It is at this stage that grape-growers fear a hard frost.
The vines continue to grow apace. Sometimes the growth is noticeable daily. A
vigorous variety can even reach the top of the trellis before the end of June. The leafwall must be kept open and easily spread, to avoid disease and ensure all parts of the vine get the sun. You will see us on four-wheeled seats going down the vine lines taking off excess shoots and growth.
By the end of July the vines will have flowered. The size of the harvest is mainly determined by the weather before and during flowering.
In August you’ll be able to see the small berries on the vines. Over the course of the month and into September the berries will slowly swell. Then the white grape skins will become more transparent and red grapes will start to get their colour.
Bird scaring starts in earnest at this time of year!
This is when the harvest is picked. Depending on the grape variety and the year’s weather, it can be at any time from the start to the very end of the month. The better the Autumn weather, the quicker the grapes accumulate the sugars necessary to make an excellent wine.
Outside in the vineyard it’s time to repair any damage to posts and wires. Inside it’s time to concentrate on wine making!