It may not look like it now, but this is our vineyard! Well, it will be with a little help from a very large chainsaw, digger, tractor and a plough. Oh, and some vines of course.
For many, finding location suitable for a vineyard can take years. There’s so much to think about – aspect, drainage, frosts, soil type. However, we’re lucky enough to know that as long as we look after the soil, vines grow here happily.
Our field is the one you can see to the right of the existing vineyard and is separated by an Italian Alder windbreak that Iain and Jane planted 30 years ago. The field will be prepared after Iain and Jane’s Kernling and Madeline Angevine grapes have been harvested in the Autumn (so as not to ruin the ground), our vines will then be planted in May. That’s not to say there is nothing to do in the mean time…
For any prospective vineyard site, one of the first jobs is to carry out some soil analysis. This will tell us if the soil is suitable for growing vines and if any treatment is required before the vines are planted (Oatley is blessed with good soil so hopefully minimal intervention is needed).
Soil analysis sounds fancy, but it is quite simple, you take soil from the ground at the depth you plant the vines and send it away to a lab in a prepaid envelope, an agronomist then interprets the results and provides recommendations on what to do. Ideally you might use a ground auger to get the samples, or if you’ve misplaced that then a bucket and spade will do…
Happy soil equals happy vines.