Rathfinny Wine Estate

Pruning expectations

Managing a vineyard is as much about managing expectations as it is managing vines.

Pruning is a typical case, what can sometimes look like a harsh haircut is in fact the best thing for the vine. On the other hand a poorly pruned vine may take some years to recover, which is why it is so important to get right.

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Pruning is single-handedly the most expensive operation in a vineyard and the most important part of the growing season. It determines how much fruit the vine will try to crop, and how many shoots it will grow. This is the key factor in managing the growth and potential fruit for the coming season, as vines will only produce fruit from one-year-old wood.

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While there is often expectation to see a crop early from the vines this is often not a good idea, the vines have to be able to carry the fruit without putting stress on their system- its all about balance, and while the vines are young it is often difficult to predict the correct crop load.

In our case we are erring on the side of caution – we’ve had 2 unusual seasons (in the case of our older vines). The first year it was very wet during the growing season, which meant the root growth was minimal- which in turn means the shoot growth is minimal. The second season it was very dry during the growing season, which also means minimal root and shoot growth. This is why we are not pushing the vines to get too much fruit this year. We will have some, and while the quality will be there we won’t have huge tonnages.

Cameron Roucher – Vineyard Manager

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