Why would you hand plant 2000 vines over a few days when machines are available that could do it in a morning?
Well, Oatley has always been a do-it-by-hand kind of place and we see no reason to change that now, even if it is a little more effort. Hand planting also allows us to segment the field in a way that would be difficult with a machine, especially in a small site.
Segmenting the field allows us to put the ‘Champagne’ Pinot Noir clone on the slightly cooler part of the slope as typically you don’t need fully ripe grapes for fizz. The ‘Burgundy’ clone will go in the warmer, sunnier area with the hope this will ripen the grapes to really develop the sugars, acids and tannins needed to create high quality wines (read about vine clones here).
Another consideration is that the field has never been deep ploughed and and has never really had heavy machinery over it either (which compacts the soil). This means the soil below our shallow 8” plough is in excellent condition, with good organic content and a lovely crumbly texture even in this dry weather, hooray for the many worms! Hand planting helps maintain this soil health, so it’s a bit of a no-brainer for us.
Hand planting 2000 vines is a bit much when you have twins running around your feet so we have enlisted a team from Fruitful Jobs, who have planted many a vineyard so we are in good hands. Naturally we will plant the first few, a symbolic gesture and a photo op not to miss!
We are planting next week. Tick-tock, tick-tock…