The vines are grafted onto American rootstock to help prevent Phylloxera, an aphid which destroyed many of the European vineyards in the 19th century. You can see the graft’s junction low down on the main stem.
Winter pruning starts after harvest in the autumn. Vines can be pruned in many different ways, but we tie down two of that year’s shoots horizontally and remove all the rest, a French system known as Double Guyot. Buds along the arms open in April/may to produce the new vertical shoots which bear the bunches of grapes.
We spray regularly to prevent fungal disease, such as mildew, and later to check Botrytis, which can seriously reduce the size of the crop. We stop spraying a month before harvest so there is no risk of any taints in the wine.
Mid-summer is a busy time. The vines grow fast, and intensive pruning is necessary both to divert the plant’s energy into the grapes, and to allow sunlight onto the grapes to aid ripening. It also allows air to circulate freely through the vines to help prevent disease. The vines are pruned three times during the summer.