Wednesday, 17 May 2017

This year's fun in the vineyard Part 2

Weeks after merciless pruning we noticed the clippings from our Triomphe vines were still alive to the extent that buds were appearing.

Quite a surprise - one which reminded us that you should burn all such material hopefully to reduce the risk of infectious diseases such as mildew.

Weeks passed without rain until mid-May; it has been the driest winter for 50 years. We proclaimed a drought. Several young vines were lost. Spring frosts claimed other victims but we understand from Austrian producers that vines come back so we are leaving the damaged ones alone and hoping.

We planted the 12 vines from Valentin Blattner, 3 each from

Cabernet Jura (red)

VB A - 100 (red)

Ravel (white)

VB 08 02 (white)

Our post concerning our visit to Valentin at Soyhieres follows.

We manicured the vineyard for the first time in antciparion of rain. We had decided not to spray the ground with Round-Up weedkiller so manicure is the alternative with a bit of rotivating as previously described (see 'Fun' part 1). We had to do some watering and have bought new rabbit guards to replace the diamond mesh ones which have proved annoying if effective.

We had ordered a bunch of chemicals this year and have already sprayed the first of ten times as prescribed in our spraying programme. We know it would be infinitely preferable to go organic/biodynamic etc. but it is a great deal more labour-intensive and so impossible unless you are on top of the vineyard on a daily basis. Last year we tried milk spray against mildew which seemed to make things worse than ever. This time we are determined to produce fruit from the Bacchus and Goldriesling varieties that are susceptible. Whether we make wine from these chemically-assisted grapes we'll decide later.

Meanwhile our resistant varieties such as Sirius, Solaris, Helios, Orion, GM 1807 - 3 ('Bettina'), Souvignier Gris, Phoenix and Regent show weak growth. We have plenty of gaps to plant the cuttings we have been growing later in the season. Survivors from last year's cuttings include Saperavi Severny, Baco Noir and L'Acadie Blanc all of which seem to be vigorous and hardy.

It's all just experimental. 'Fun' part 3 will follow in a couple of months.

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