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Friday, 7 December 2012

Vineyard Work - Natural Wine Starts Here!

Yesterday was my first day back in the vineyard, after the harvesting and winemaking work of the last few months.

I started with a bit of composting.

This is what the vines look like at the moment:

Ploughed vineyard
The soil has just been lightly ploughed so there are no grass or flowers visible. We only plough up once a year to aerate the soil and to let the rain soak in. The rest of the year we let all the grasses, plants, flowers, thistles grow to create biodiversity. That way all the different species of insects and animals predate on each other and all is in balance. We never get a plague of insect that affects the vines.

And this is what a vine looks like close up:

Uncomposted Vine
The first step is to dig up a little bit all around the vine, so as to make a hole:

Dig a hole
Then load up a wheelbarrow of compost:

Load up compost
This is organic compost from a sheep and goat farm in the Sierra just north of Madrid.

Then tip the compost into the hole:

Tip in compost
Then cover the compost up. It's important to make the hole quite deep and to cover it well, otherwise the surface grasses and flowers with their short roots get the benefit of the compost instead of the vine!

Compost well covered
Lastly, prune the vine. That way I'll be able to tell if the vine's been composted or not over the coming weeks!

Vine, composted and pruned

When I finished that little pile of compost (about 10 vines worth), I did some pruning in another part of the vineyard. But after about an hour, I decided to call it a day, as my back started hurting, from bending over! And my fingers too, from gripping the pruning shears! The first day is always like that. Now I have to start exercising and stretching every day.

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