It's been a real week of snow this week. Since Monday the whole vineyard's been covered with a crisp white blanket. It's Saturday morning now and starting to melt. See below for my favourite photo from Tuesday morning though as the sun made an appearance.
Pruning is an essential winter task in the vineyard. It removes the old shoots from the previous year and allows us assess each vine to make sure we get a consistent canopy and fruit in the coming year.
We're still in the development phase with our vines, so this year most of them will be pruned to 3-4 buds, each one hopefully growing into a full fruit-bearing leafy shoot this summer. However, a few weaker vines need another year to build up their root system and to create a good straight, strong shoot that will become the permanent trunk.
We had a great team of people in to do the pruning this year and they ploughed through the job in six days. As pleased as we are to see the job complete, we're back to seeing a field of trellising and tubes, with woody twigs just poking out of the top.
I love to see the ordered geometry in the vineyard, but will be happier when I see the green shoots starting to appear. Fingers crossed we don't get hit by another late-spring frost again this year.
Whilst we have the vineyard looking clear and tidy, it's time to get out there and do some trellising repairs. There are a few anchor wires to repair, wire clips to remove and fixes to supporting posts. Once this snow's cleared I'll be out there doing all these jobs.
We're not dropping the wires this year, a job to make lifting and containing a larger canopy, but we'll be tucking-in manually later on.
Although there's been a vineyard here since 1986, Hidden Spring has never had its own winery. The grapes used to get carted away to local wineries to be made into wine and returned to the vineyard. We're changing all that by expanding our sunny spot in Sussex into a vineyard and winery.
The work started in November 2017, and as you can see from the 'after' photo below, even in January it had made excellent progress. Now in March we've got the rest of the walls up, the doors are fitted, the concrete floor's been poured and the windows are fitted. We're looking forward to finally having a working winery on site.
Along with the vineyard, winery, tours and tastings we're also working on the launch of weddings here at the vineyard. It's only three weeks to our Wedding Showcase so lots of activity around that too. Check our Events page for details.