2017 is shaping into a fine year a very early start to bud burst has left some the vines vulnerable to frost. The short video shows us pulling out pruned vine canes leaving the two canes ready to be tied down to our straining wires.
The pruned canes are left on the ground in between rows; we use a shredder/mulcher to breakdown the canes. After two passes the canes will be small enough to break down into the grass.
April 26 caused some damage, see below, but only in a sheltered part of the vineyard. As is obvious in the picture below the shoot has been killed by frost but to the right there are two leaves showing no damage at all.
What a strange year 2016 turned into at Somerby we experienced a very early spring which brought all the vines, especially the Solaris, on by at least two weeks, this left the early buds susceptible to late May frosts which duly came and hit the lower levels of our lower fields. Sometimes the buds of vines look to have survived a frost but can start to turn brown after a few days and fall off so we were not to sure of the overall damage to the vines until mid May when the chances of another frost had gone. some of the local farmers and gardeners assure us that there can be frosts in late May but we haven’t experienced that yet.
After the frosts came a short clean open spring which had all at the vineyard in high hopes but a whole month of June rain put us back. Flowering was patchy at best and downy and powdery mildews were having a field day.
From July on wards to nearly the middle of September I do not remember any significant rain fall, we do measure rain fall but gave up checking mid season because there was nothing to find. This welcome weather saved 2016 Our berries developed well if not smaller than usual and it is fair to say yields would eventually turn out to be very poor but without the dry spell we may have faces another 2012 which was a complete washout for the whole of the UK.
Our harvest dates in 2016 were mid October to mid November which is about two weeks late for us and shows how the early start was hampered by the June rains yields were very low but fruit quality was some of the best we have ever seen our new plantings of Pinot Noir gave their first fruit and the sugar/acid/flavour was excellent.
It only goes to say that we have high hopes for the 2016 wines.