I thought I should take some time to post about what we are actually doing in Tasmania in case you were wondering if we were just sampling the delicious local food and coffee Richmond has on offer, and enjoying freshly laid eggs, all of which we definitely doing – but there is more!
Let me set the scene by describing the vineyard. There are a number of different varieties of grapes on the property but there are 42 X 300m rows of Pinot grapes that are used for the serious (commercial) wine making, so these are the vines we are spending the most time on at the moment.
At this time of the year the vines are dormant, which means it is time to prune them, and unfortunately they all need to be hand pruned. That is 12,600m of vines to prune before budburst in spring, not only that – these vines are on a fairly steep incline. This means for each and every vine, find a leader cane count 10 buds and trim the remainder of the leader cane and tie it down.
Then remove all the remaining canes, the canes then need to be collected and disposed of to reduce the likelihood of disease throughout the vineyard and so we don’t flip the ride on lawn mower as we go through the vinetyard.
Currently Paul is doing most of the pruning while I come behind him and clean up the canes. The canes from the end of the rows go straight in the trailer and taken away to another part of the property where eventually they will be incinerated.
However the rows are very close together, too close to take the trailer down, so I cut the canes up small and pile them into the drum. As you may imagine dragging a metal barrel full of vines up to 150m on uneven ground uphill then dragging it back again when it is empty is not easy. So now I take pockets full of matches and paper and set the canes alight once the drum is full.
The kids help whenever we make them by taking some of the canes at the end of the rows and putting them straight on the trailer.
We are trying to do an hour or two each day during the week and 5-6 hours each day in the weekend. We are over halfway through the main block which means as long as the weather remains kind to us we should finish by spring. As for the other blocks we are just going to have to do the best we can!