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Journey News

Preparation For More Vines

Marking out for more vines to be planted in the spring, we are letting the hedges grow up for wind protection.
The cavalry arrives. We are ploughing, mole ploughing and rotavating today.
Lots and lots of worms.
Ploughing finished, mole ploughing and rotavating this afternoon.
Last pass with the rotavator, we have been lucky with the weather all day.
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Journey News

So Far So Good

There has been good growth this year in the vines and we are on track with cane diameter and root setting. There was a bit of wind damage as a result of the back to back storms in August so we need to look at the hedgerows and trellising to minimise the impact this would have in a growing season.

This is the 2nd year of establishment and the plan will be to do a main crop on the first guyot in September 2022, with a small test crop to be taken next year to see what the acid and sugar levels are like. The Rondo are already tasting great.

We have been focusing a lot on wildlife this year and we are already seeing the benefits throughout the vineyard with an abundance of insects and birds returning.

We have learned a lot this year and have helped out at other vineyards along the way.

There is plenty of pruning and trellising work to be done over the winter as we get ready to go into a more standard growing season routine.

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Wildlife Push

Having fun with the kids promoting wildlife in the vineyard this year, it feels like nature should be one of the biggest winners out of this crazy time. Want to make sure we are doing our bit
bug hotel
snake hide out
Homes for bugs, flying insects, snakes, frog, newts and birds
kestrel box
tawny owl box
The RSPB has all the plans to create lots of different types of bird boxes which are easy enough to put together. To avoid confusion the bird boxes are clearly sign posted Tawny Owl and Kestrel… please use the correct boxes ! ?

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Journey

Annual Pruning

The first annual pruning in the vineyard took place in February 2020 and had been booked in the diary for some time.

This is the only photo I can find… presumably because our hands were either in gloves or firmly in our pockets for the next couple of days. The weather was horrendous, don’t think we could have picked a worse window. 45 mph winds, driving rain and 5 celcius.

The picture was taken 5 minutes before Matt our agronomist turned up to give us a 101 in pruning

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First Years Maintenance

The first planting was a test planting to see how things went, go through the learning curve and understand how intensive the full annual cycle would be along with getting a feel of the demand for the wine before seeing how many additional vines to plant.

 

One of the first tasks was shooting thinning to thin out excess shoots to one main shoot and remove all fruit from the young vines.

 

 

 

We were grateful to find Joe who has been fantastic in helping us maintain the vineyard and in identifying and resolving problems like the wind burn above early and helping us to correct any issues.

 

 

 

Along with some budding young viticulturists, who are helping to train the vines into the catch wires.

 

 

 

Any grapes produced this year and next are removed, usually earlier in the season so that all the energy is focused on the roots and main cane.

 

 

 

The spangly new gates and fence courtesy of Joe have helped tidy up the vineyard entrance

 

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Journey

Barn Restoration

Part way through the restoration work of the barn

The barn is over 200 years old and was derelict when we bought the land. We struggled to find anyone to take on the challenge to restore it, due to its remote location and lack of services.

We found Clive a local stone mason and builder purely by chance he did an amazing job, working long hours and equipped only with a generator and tank of water. He managed to recycle all of the original stone and new materials were only required for the roof joists and handful of tiles.

new roof joists going in most of the old tiles to be reused
Barn restoration at the vineyard

The old 2ft thick sheep manure flooring had to be dug out before the new floor could go down which was still amazingly fresh underneath.

Removal of manure at the restored barn lobbster plot
New floor to the tasting room

A real team effort. My Dad helped with the new floor and Joe built and fitted the new oak doors.

New doors on the barn at lobb
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Journey

Planting

The best decision we made was to get some help with the planting, the original plan was to do it ourselves. We had a team of 6 and all the vines were planted in under 4 hours!

Vines planted were Rondo and Solaris all grafted on SO4 root stock.

Each vine was planted by hand, using an auger to dig a clean hole with enough space so that the roots could spread down and out evenly to encourage good growth.

Once planted each vine was fertilised, protected with a rabbit guard and supported with a cane attached to the fruiting wire providing stability until the vines mature.

The focus for the first two years of the growth is on the roots and on one strong stem up to the fruiting wire.


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Preparation

A lot of preparation went in before the vines were planted. We have chosen a double guyot VSP (vertical shoot positioning) trellising system with rows marked out 6ft apart and vines at 4ft centres, spaced marginally differently depending on the grape variety and its vigour

The VSP system has a main fruiting wire at approximately 75 cms and then two sets of two catch wires above for the leaves.

soil preparation with the rotavator before the vines go in
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Journey

Site Location

Planted in 2019, the soil is a light loam and the vineyard drains well. Very handy given the occasional inclement weather!

The vineyard faces the prevailing winds so we need to avoid a late harvest. We chose to plant two hybrid grape varieties; Solaris and Rondo, both specifically chosen for their hardy, disease resistant and early ripening qualities.