With spring now fast approaching, all winter pruning in the vineyard is now complete, with vines tied down ready and waiting for bud burst. General trellis repairs will continue over the next few weeks to ensure that everything is ready for the growing season.
The new trellis is being installed on the Dell slopes, due for completion shortly. Our hardworking vineyard team have been working tirelessly on this steep ground come rain or shine in order to have everything in place for the spring.
We will very soon be bringing our frost protection equipment out of storage and on standby, to combat the threat of any late frosts.
We are now also starting to prepare the ground ready for the new Pinot Noir plantings in May. One hectare of this varietal will be planted in the Park area of the vineyard, with grapes destined for our premium sparkling wines.
The winery have been hard at work with the second sparkling bottling of the year, as well as preparing numerous supermarket still wines for bottling. We are also excited to be receiving delivery of our new automated disgorging line in the coming weeks, which should further streamline our sparkling production. Our Ranmore Hill 2017 Vineyard Select still white has been bottled and is being prepared for release. As a fresh, fruity and complex blend of Pinot Gris, Bacchus and Chardonnay with oak barrel ageing, this will be a welcome addition to our premium range.
We are looking forward to another great year and the release of some spectacular wines later on in the season.
In the vineyard, the vines are now dormant for winter, with pruning beginning very shortly. After a six week period, this will be closely followed by a team pulling out unwanted canes, then another small team starting to tie the fruiting canes to the wires, in readiness for spring bud burst. We will also make a start on mechanically trimming the minimally pruned plots (Muller, Bacchus and Ortega), which will hopefully just take a couple of weeks.
At the same time that the vines are being pruned, another small team will be going through the vineyard to repair any damaged trellis. This is very important in the minimally pruned plots, due to the extra weight of the vines in summer with their full canopy.
Every year after harvest is in we start our machinery maintenance program. This will involve a complete overhaul of the mechanical harvester, all tractors, sprayers, mowers and trimmers. This should be completed by early spring when the machines will be needed again in the vineyard, ready for another season.
The winery have begun a busy new year, disgorging our sparkling wines and fine-tuning our premium Vineyard Select wines such as Bacchus, Pinot Noir and Ranmore Hill, ready for their release later this year. With tanker and barrel space at a premium following the bounteous harvest of 2018, it is the task of the winery manager at this time to ensure that still wines are released for bottling at the optimum moment to retain the all-important fresh fruit flavours. We look forward to sharing progress as we go through the seasons.