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Passing Clouds

Cameron Leith
30 August 2014 | Cameron Leith

A Winemaker's Wanderings

Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be many blogs of mine, mainly on wine – everyone likes that right? How its grown and made and generally what one gets up to in the day to day of a family owned winery. It’s one of the great joys of the job I find, that every day is different apart from pruning, when every day’s the same!


What I would love to know is what you the reader are interested in. Do you want to know about how wine is made and grapes are grown? Or are you more interested in what living on the land and ‘share farming with god’ is like? Perhaps you would like to know more about the ups and downs of running a family business? What ever it is, I would be keen to hear your thoughts.


We had the first real glimpse of spring last week, giving us the opportunity to get out into the vineyard in preparation for budburst. Pruning is now finished so we’ve got time to do some last minute vineyards jobs at the estate vineyard in Musk, we took some soil samples last week and the results came back showing a couple of things that could be tweaked so they have been ordered and we are hoping they will arrive before the next stretch of good weather arrives, so they can be applied in relative comfort.


Then it’s just a matter of mulching the canes, and finishing of the trellis repairs and we are ready to go for another season at Musk.


There’s still quite a bit to do at the Vaughan Springs vineyard. It’s on a frost prone site and the best defense we have there is pruning late to delay budburst by a week or two. There’s no sign of wooly bud or sap flow there yet, but it has to be checked regularly from now one, as soon as wooly bud appears, we have to go hard to get it all pruned before bud burst occurs. The pruning team is on standby as they have finished pruning all the other vineyards that they do, its just Vaughan to go for them.


We run this vineyard organically so our main way of controlling grass at this time of year is sheep. They are in there at the moment on loan from a local farmer, we normally leave them in there until either they run out of food or the buds break - as the sheep far prefer tender young vine leaves to boring old grass. Like the compromise that has be reached between the viticulturalist who often wants to get his grapes into the safety of the winery before the winemaker wants them to, the farmer always wants to get his sheep into new, plentiful pasture before the grass is as low as the viticulturalist desires.


The good weather also gave us a chance to get started on the soil prep for our Truffiere, more on that next week.

Time Posted: 30/08/2014 at 12:45 AM