Winter in the vineyard seems like a time where there is not much happening – the vines drop their leaves and enter a period of dormancy where they hibernate and consolidate what occurred during the growing season.
However for the vineyard staff winter is an important time for doing maintenance in the vineyard and also for pruning. The purpose of pruning is to maintain the vine in a form that delivers the desired crop at its peak of quality. In essence we want the vine to have sufficient leaves to produce the ripeness in the grapes that we desire.
All of our vines at Balgownie Estate are hand pruned by our skilled staff using pneumatic shears. It is vital for the pruning to be done correctly to enable an excellent crop for the following year – any mistakes can mean that the vine can be out of balance during vintage which will impact the quality of the fruit.
In the Yarra Valley we use a trellis system called vertical shoot-positioning that trains the vines into a narrow vertical canopy. There is a series of foliage wires that sweep the canes up in to this vertical canopy. This produces an efficient vine that allows a lot of sunlight to penetrate and ripen the fruit - an important consideration in the cool climate of the Yarra Valley.
A pruned Pinot Noir vine in the Yarra Valley showing the canes positioned vertically by the foilage wires.