Pruning is all about balance, the delicate balance between fruit load and shoot growth.
In basic terms, we’re training and directing the growth of the vine for the coming season. Pruning allows us to manipulate the potential quantity, and quality of fruit produced. Following a season like the one we’ve just had, this is all the more important.
2018 was quite a year for UK vineyards, often touted as the ‘biggest and best’ yet. In France, they’d call it a Millésime, a proper ‘Vintage’. This is great but the ongoing effects of a season like we’ve just had can have far-reaching consequences.
Vine balance is critical in viticulture. We design our vineyards and manage the vineyard throughout the year to try and maintain the balance between productive yields, optimal fruit quality (flavours, sugars and acidity) and preserve the overall long-term health of the vine. After a year like 2018 where the yields were significantly higher, this can have ongoing effects into following years.
This is why pruning is such an art, and why we try to maintain a high proportion of experienced pruners who we’ve trained up and come back year after year. Most of our pruning team live locally, which is great news and were involved in pruning last year so we’re lucky to get them back to prune (and work in the summer and harvest) year on year, some have been with us for close to 5 years now so have really developed great pruning skills.
This year we have taken on a small group who are new to pruning, all of whom worked the harvest with us. These guys and gals are doing a great job and are learning the ropes fast.
We’ve been blessed with ideal pruning weather so far and we’re flying through the blocks, long may it stay dry…