Fantastic news -
A fantastic harvest, this has been a very good year. The hard work on controlling the vine canopy has paid dividends, less problems with mildew and significantly less use of fungicides to prevent disease
Wow, its been a fantastic year for growing vines. We must apologise for not updating the web site as often as we would have liked – keeping the vine canopy pruned has become a mammoth task taking almost all the waking hours to accomplish. Our arms ache from holding petrol driven hedge trimmers at head height, as soon as one end of the vineyard is reached several feet of new growth is waiting at the other end of the vineyard.
A nice start to the real season, the new steel posts are in place where the old wooden posts had rotted through. Hopefully that will remove a lot of maintenance in the future, as it was the wooden posts were rotting in only a few years (In some cases as little as three years after the post had been put in the ground). If you have a look at the “Posts” section you will see how we put the steel posts in, the use of the petrol driven post driver makes it so simple.
The vines are doing well, but the prolific growth has yet to start.
Pruning to keep the vine canopy down has become (over the years of learning how best to cultivate the vineyard) a number one essential, increased canopy cover not only lowers the sugar and acid figures at harvest, but also dramatically increases the ever present threat of mildew and botrytis. The aim at Little Oak has always been to use any chemical sprays in as little quantity as possible, ideally getting as close to organic production as humanly possible within the constraints of the English climate.
Its now a very busy time, with much effort being expended to finish the pruning and to replace the numerous support posts that have rotted through with metal posts, which is a mammoth task involving hundreds of post.
The spray system for the tractor has been modified to make it even better, less chemicals are now needed to get a complete coverage of the vines as overspray is reduced
At the date of writing this (June 2015), we wait expectantly for our first batch of sparkling wine, it should be back soon. Its something everyone is very much looking forward to as its now eighteen months since those grapes were picked.