It may look like our vineyards ‘shut down’ over the Winter months, but on closer inspection there is a hive of activity throughout this chilly, wet (and often miserable) time. Spare a thought for our vineyard workers who have just completed a busy harvest season and are now preparing the vines for the next growing season.
Our Bilbul Estate Viticulturalist and De Bortoli ‘third gen-er’, Kevin De Bortoli, tells us that there isn’t a lot of time for rest after the vintage.
“After catching up on the sleep missed during those long days (and nights) harvesting grapes, then enjoying the school holidays with the kids; it’s straight back into the vineyard in preparation for pruning,” he tells us.
“We start with machine hedging and then tidy up the vines up by hand. Pruning is important as it sets us up for a crop next year and generally makes the vine a bit easier to manage.”
Preparation for the season ahead can also include turning the soil between vines to aerate the soil and allow water penetration, as well as mulching between the vine rows.
“Replanting is an important task through Winter,” Kevin tells us. “This year we’re doing a major replant of our Hemly block in Bilbul in preparation for turning organic, as well as replanting our Nericon Vineyards with more relevant varieties.”
Down in the Yarra Valley, our Vineyard Manager Rob Sutherland is keeping busy too.
“Winter is a busy and important time in the vineyard!” Rob explains, “Jobs are varied and include making our own compost, sowing cover crops, bud dissections prior to pruning, repairs to our plant, equipment and trellis, as well as pulling out any blocks out that need to be replanted.”
All this hard work now to set us up for a stellar vintage in 2018!