There comes a time once each year where a series of foliage wires need to be “lifted” to achieve vertical shoot positioning.
It’s back breaking work and not for the unfit, working in the sun and lifting heavy vigorous tangled canes laden with fruit. Not only do the wires need to be lifted, but the tangled canes need to be separated from each other in order to allow the bunches to be appropriately exposed to the sun and breezes of the Piccadilly Valley.
It can take an entire morning, or longer, to complete just one row of vines.
The process is important however as by lifting the wires you ensure vertical shoot growth. The vertical positioning is critical in establishing good canopy to protect the developing fruit, even more so once veraison takes hold (the stage in the annual growth cycle of the grapevine where the grapes soften and begin to develop sugar).
But it’s not all bad. The long hours and strenuous work provide me with the opportunity to really get a feel for what the vintage will be like. This year is looking good with excellent healthy growth and no signs of disease.
In conducting this essential exercise, I can only hope for overcast days and gentle breezes to accompany me as I work my way along the undulating hills and rolling vines. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way – the exercise always seems to be due at the hottest time of the year.
Enough chatting, I’ve had my iced cordial and I still have three rows to finish before day’s end and then onto the next block.