The Spring Update from Michelle Dacombe – Vineyard Manager, Misha’s Vineyard
After a long cold and dry winter, spring is here — and so are the weeds! This year’s pruning went well with our small team of 3 (with additional help for a month from one casual employee) managing to knock out the almost 26 hectares – that’s 65,000 vines – each one carefully given personal attention!
This year, we’re doing a small trial in two different locations on the vineyard where we have converted the vines from spur pruning to cane pruning. Throughout the growing season we will be able to monitor the differences in reference to timing (budburst, flowering, veraison, etc), fruit set, fruit quality, and once we have ripened the fruit, we can see if there is any difference in the flavour profiles. With each clone of Pinot Noir offering its own viewpoint on the varietal characteristics it will be interesting to note any changes or differences that may arise from pruning.
In early spring, the weather can be somewhat erratic and we’re having the occasional day where we have southerlies screaming down the valley which can really chill things down, but the soil temperature is up to 10 degrees which is a bit of a light switch for plants. It’s time to start growing. While the weeds are poking their heads out the vines aren’t quite convinced yet. It looks like it will be another week or two before they make an appearance.
In the meantime, there is plenty to get on with. Commissioning the irrigation in the vineyard is always a big spring job. Every vineyard row has lateral tubing which delivers the irrigation water. Every row must be checked to ensure it’s performing to its potential. Any issues that are found must be fixed and maintenance kept up to ensure optimal performance throughout the summer when irrigation demand reaches its peak. The weatherman seems to think we are in for another very dry summer, so we need the irrigation in tip top shape! The rest of the spring will be filled in with trellis and equipment maintenance – there are tractors to be serviced and cleaned and the sprayer calibrated to make sure we are ready when the vines give the signal.
It won’t be long now.