We have our vineyard!
It’s been a rollercoaster of a month. The dry April had us wondering if we would need to find a way to get some irrigation up to the new vines, as they need a little drink within four weeks of planting. We needn’t have worried as the day after we finished planting it started raining and didn’t seem to stop for three weeks, in what turned out to be one of the wettest Mays on record. Would the new vines drown? eek!
This is almost as fretful as having newborn twins!
After planting the Burgundy clone vines in the top block we realised we didn’t have enough vines to fill the available space, possibly because I have reclaimed a lot of headland since the initial estimates or maybe because I can’t count? A highly fortuitous WhatsApp message on the local vineyard group meant we were able to source some extra vines, identical to the Champagne clones we were about to plant. A quick jaunt up to the Cotswolds and we were all set. Big thanks to Simon and Wendy at Lark Hill vineyard for the vines and very timely message.
Of course, this also meant we were short of rods and rabbit nets for the extra vines, WhatsApp group to the rescue again as George from nearby Mayland Vineyard had just taken some off his vines and very kindly donated them to the cause. You can buy George’s first vintage at The Little Wine Shop in Taunton (limited stocks!). We are lucky UK vineyard owners are a really lovely bunch.
We didn’t source extra vines for the Burgundy block as we decided the remaining space would make a lovely picnic area, and plan to turn it into a wildflower meadow. You will also see in the photos that we have uncovered a spring at the edge of the planted vines, getting a tractor around it will probably prove tricky so best to leave it as a ‘feature’. Funny that the old Oatley vines have never looked thirsty.
The planting itself was done by the vineyard team from Fruitful Jobs, who worked tirelessly for 22 hours over the two planting days. They were also very flexible, when we realised we wouldn’t have the vines on Thursday the team went and prep’d another site instead, to return to finish our job on Friday. This meant we didn’t have to pay them for Thursday, top marks.
We paused for a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come since we started clearing the field last year. We then realised there is no time for that, the new vines are springing into life and need some attention (all 2250 of them!)