JUST WINE | There’s shear delight in pruning tasks at wineries in winter

LOVE THIS WORK: Gary Clarke is one of the many stalwarts pruning up and down the vinerows around the district. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
LOVE THIS WORK: Gary Clarke is one of the many stalwarts pruning up and down the vinerows around the district. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

One of the joys of working with grapes and wine is the seasonal nature of the work.

There’s a joy in the spring with budburst and the prospect of a new season with challenge and uncertainty.

In summer the work becomes more methodical – with the tasks including wire lifting, leaf plucking and trimming. Autumn is the excitement of vintage, picking the grapes and making the wine. Then there’s winter ...

Winter is the season for pruning – and pruning is another important but methodical task. Pruning can happen anytime during the winter after the vines are dormant.

Some vineyard owners like to get stuck in and have it all done and dusted by the end of June.

Well, I quite like pruning. I help a few small people across the district; it’s good work through the winter.

Gary Clarke

Others, perhaps with large vineyards, may have to work through it over several months just to get the job done.

So how has the pruning season been this year? I got out into the field to see.

Gary Clarke is one of the many stalwarts working up and down the vinerows around the district. How has it been?

“Well, I quite like pruning. I help a few small people across the district; it’s good work through the winter,” Gary said.

“And some places I’ve pruned for many years so I know them.

“And when you know the place you can do things over a few seasons – you know like setting new cordons or moving a block from spur to cane.”

And the weather?

“Really cold this year but with the dry I haven’t had many rain days, which is good for me. Plenty of frosty starts though,” he laughed.

Spring will be here soon.

Cheers.

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