Caring for Young Grape Vines
My name is David Handley, I'm with the Universityof Maine Cooperative Extension, and we're here to talk about how to prune and traina young grapevine. This is a vine that was planted last spring. We got it from a dormantplant, or rooted cutting, and you can see the original part of the planting right here.This is what we got from the nursery, with a good root system under it. We planted it,and we had a bud break and some vine growth. This is last year's growth right here. Thiswas a green shoot. Typically, you may get more than one shoot developing. You may haveseveral buds on here. We want to prune this back to one strong vine, your strongest one.We're going to arrange for that to be tied
up to a trellis, because this particular vineis what's going to become our permanent trunk, or the permanent part of the plant that'sgoing to be with us for the life of the planting. We want to make sure it's the strongest ofthe vines that we can choose from. Any other one that developed that's very weak, we canjust cut that out, select our best one. The time of year to make these cuts are whenthe canes are dormant, and this is going to be really any time after the new year, untilthey bud out in late March, early April. We hope in the first year that we get enoughgood growth that we can tie it to the lower trellis wire.Typically here in Maine, we're going to be
pruning to either a four arm kniffin trainingsystem, or an umbrella kniffin training system. Those trellises consist of two wires, oneset at about two and a half feet, and a second wire set at about five feet.We hope in the first year that we're going to get enough good growth to reach at leastthe bottom wire, but in order to make sure it's growing straight, you can see we supportedthis with a small bamboo pole. Any kind of planting stake will work, and we just tiethat vine up as it grows, rather than let it grow along the ground where it can getrot problems, and not develop a nice straight growth like we want. We tie it up, just likeyou'd tie up a beef steak tomato, get the
growth that you want.As I said, we've got pretty good buds here, reaching up to the first wire. You can seethat I actually make it to the top wire, but you can see the growth up here is very scrawnyand spindly, and isn't really going to lead to a good, strong trunk. I'd rather actuallystart new growth for reaching to this top wire for next year.What that means is that I'm actually going to cut this off here, rather low, to try toget this bud here to break and give me a much stronger shoot to develop my trunk to thetop wire next year. I can just take that there, and then, instead of using the bamboo polethis year, I can just tie it to the wire.
This bud will hopefully break, and give mea good, strong shoot, that I'm going to reach the second wire next year. Of course, thesebuds lower down will also break, and if this one happens to be weak, I may select one ofthese. But, if this bud does turn out to be a strong shoot, I'll be cutting these offnext winter and getting my single trunk back up to the top wire.Next year, when this does reach the top wire, eventually what we'll be doing is taking oneyear old cane, and either draping it over this top wire and connecting it to the bottomwire in an umbrella kniffin, or we'll be taking one cane at the top wire on each side, andone cane at the bottom wire on each side,
to create four arms of one year old growth,for a four\uc0\u8209 arm kniffin system. Both systems work pretty well for concretetype grapes here in a cold climate like Maine.
Tyrrells Wines Vintage 2016 Update
Well, the run in to this vintage has been mixed. Very good early. wonderful season, all the way through tillprobably the start of December. And then the rain started, and from the 1st of December till the middle of January. we had about 19 inches of rain. You walk outside a lot and look up at the sky and go quot;you rotten old sodquot;. We got really lucky that when the rain stopped we had nice windy days , warm weather without being too hot and we've had 3 or 4 weeks of dry weather now. And everything sort of.hung on, and produced some great fruit.
You just have to work around it. We did more hand picking probably in whites than we would have normally done. The pickers individually checked the bunches. And then, as they were tipped into the bins, we had at most five people standing upon the bins and they picked up every bunch and they went over it again. Anyone can make a great wine and a great vintage. A vintage like 2014 if you didn't make a spectacular wine, then wine making is probably the wrong game for you But in the more challenging years, like 2016, the people with the better dirt, the better vineyards, the people that spend more time and more resources during the year looking after their vineyards, are the ones that have come through.
So all of our focus, all year, is how do we get that plant, that vine, as healthy as possible There are 13 blocks in the Valley over 100 years old, on their own roots, and we either own or lease 7 of them. And I'm trying to get my hands on therest. But that's where we're lucky, this is this here and in the Barossa are the two great repositories of a regional European vine material in the world. Our HVD Chardonnay, that we bottle on its own, is the oldest block of Chardonnay on the planet There's two for me, one is a block called Contour, I'm a little bit biased cause that's my favourite. And this year it looks spectacular.
The Contour block was planted in the late1960's, and is the heart of our Vat 9 Shiraz. It's the best block that goes into our best wines so really excited about that. And then probably the Johnno's Shiraz, which is a nice old vineyard down the bottom of the hill here Planted in 1908 that's just one little fermenter, one cask we'll mature it in and we just make about 3,000 bottles that looks reallygood as well but you can tell when the bins turned up outside it's like, oh yeah, game on, this is pretty good. The whites are bloody good, they really are, I took Brian McGuigan for a walk through all the Semillons yesterday And he just kept shaking his head and saying quot;how good is thiséquot;
So that's nice when you get one of mates doing that heyé 2016 I'd say has been a trying vintage, but it's one where we've had to be flexible we've had to be quick on our feet and stick very clearly to what we wanted to achieve. There's been a cost to that, we've lost some fruit and it's been expensive to pick, but the end result that we've seen so far, means that all of that is worth it. There will be some very, very good wine out of this year.