After the harvest the vines continue to take up nutrients, creating carbohydrate reserves needed to develop early shoots in the following spring.
Shortly after this the leaves drop and the vines enter a period of winter dormancy.
Winter is the time to nourish the soil by planting cereal or legume cover crops. We plant the cover crop in every second row on annual rotation. Pruned vine canes are dropped in the unplanted row.
A healthy cover crop enriches the soil. It is not harvested but is left in the vineyard to contribute to a carpet of organic matter. This assists in suppressing weed growth and importantly helps with water retention in the hot summer months that follow.
Winter is also the time for pruning.
We prune manually in three stages, with the key focus being on restricting the crop to maximize fruit quality. You can’t make good wine from poor fruit!
During July we remove excess growth in a “brush cut” operation.
In the second step around mid-August, next year’s bearers are selected in the “clean pruning” operation.
Finally, towards the end of August/ early September, selected bearers are cut back to two-bud spurs.
Ready for spring!