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Spring Work

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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Andreas with a large clamping collet tensioning wire in the vineyard.
Andreas tensioning wires

It’s quieter in our vineyards in the winter months. That really is the case, but only in direct comparison to summer. Because although the work is not so pressing now, there is always something to do. Winter pruning, the biggest chunk of work, has now been completed practically everywhere. But there are still a few important jobs to do before the vines sprout

After pruning, the vines are first pulled out of the wire trellis and trown to the middle of the rows, so that their wood can be chopped up and left in the vineyard. This actually could be done while pruning. But it takes time, the pruning shears get in the way and overall it is much easier to do it as a separate step.

Renate while tying vines to the wire trellis.
Tying down the vines.

After this, only a single vine remains on the stem. This vine is then bent down to the bottommost wire and attached to it. There are endless possibilities as to how to attach it. The vines can be tied with ribbons, fastened with plastic or metal clips, tightened with wire and much more. However, it is important to keep them flat and in the right direction. This is done for the following reason:

Like all plants, vines prefer to sprout at the tip of the shoot. If they were simply left to grow, the stem would grow longer year after year and the grapes would hang around everywhere. Attaching the vines as flat as possible to the wire, means that all the buds can sprout evenly and a nice wall of foliage is formed with grapes between the first and second wire, just as we like it. On slopes, the vines are even always bent downwards, which serves the same purpose.

Close-up of two hands tying a vine stem to the support rod.
Tying grapevine stems.

The stems of our vines are tied to support rods. And because they grow a little thicker every year, it is always necessary to renew some of the straps so that they do not ingrow into the trunk. This can of course be done all year round, but now is the best time to do it, precisely because there are not ten other and more important jobs waiting.

Another task for this time of year is repair works in the vineyard. Over the course of the year, posts, support rods, wires and so on are often damaged or just need to be tightened. On the one hand, this happens due to wind and weather, but on the other hand, parts are also hit by the tractor or its mounted equipment. If you are not very careful while pruning, even there the wire sometimes gets caught in the shears- With a bad outcome for the wire, because it will be severed.

This means that we walk through all the vineyards and repair whatever needs to be repaired. Ideally, one should remember where something needs to be done while pruning, but one still have to be observant all the time. A vineyard should last for several decades. This would not be possible without constant caretaking of the vines and the trellis. Repairs are of course carried out all year round. But as with tying the trunks, now is simply the best time to do it.

After having done all this, we are ready for a new vintage. The vines normally sprout in early to mid-April, so they are comparatively late starters. They then grow all the faster, which means that we are much more challenged to complete the necessary leaf work on time. And from this perspective, it certainly is true. It really is quieter in our vineyards in winter.

Now the only thing we need is for it to get colder. With the current warm weather, the vines might sprout unusually early, which poses the risk of late frosts that we cold easily do without.

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