Winter's here and one of our biggest jobs in the vineyard is pruning. Our Pinot Noir vines are only 2 years old but they've taken well to the Macedon Ranges cool climate with real vigor. Pruning is not one of the most exciting jobs to work on in the vineyard but it is one of the most important. Get it right and you set yourself up for success for the upcoming year... get it wrong and you can have a real disaster on your hands.
So what is pruning? One of the main jobs of pruning is to tell the vine how many bunches of grapes you want it to produce and to ripen in the year, it also determines the crop for the next year. Cutting back last years canes help the vine grow healthier and more rigorously in the spring.
Pictured above: Samantha has opened one of the plastic grow guards to reveal the vine and the 2 main canes. The weakest of the two canes will be snipped off near the base and the remaining cane will be snipped higher up, 1 inch under the cordon wire.
It's then important to remove all the other buds on the cane leaving just two at the top. These buds will create the two new canes for this year's growth. After that's all done, zip up the grow guard and start the next vine, repeat this 1000's of times until you've done so many squats you've got buns of steel.
Exciting times as we get ready to release our first ever wine... The Northern Hope 2019 Pinot Noir is finally ready to be bottled.
As our vineyard is not producing grapes yet, we purchased grapes from an award winning vineyard in Woodend, Macedon Ranges. This small batch, single vineyard of Pinot Noir (2 1/2 tonnes total) was hand picked and basket pressed. Comprising of a single clone (MV6) and a wild yeast ferment it was matured in a combination of new and old French oak barrels.
Bottling will take place on the 22nd August 2020 and will be ready to be purchased from this November. Only a total of 1450 bottles will be produced so please make sure you sign up to our email newsletters to stay in the know and more importantly come back soon so you can get your hands on this very limited edition release.
Planting day: 5th December 2018
We planted our very first block of vines at Northern Hope. We ordered over 1500 pinot noir vines from Yalumba Nursery in Tasmania, purchasing a mixture of 115 and MV6 clones to provide a layered and more complex tasting pinot. It wasn't a difficult decision to plant pinot noir given it's our favourite go to wine and it's something which we believe is suited to the cool climate of the Macedon Ranges.
Like most great ideas it seemed simple but when given more thought on how'd we plant 1500+ vines in one day and on our own, we knew we'd need some help. So quickly selling the dream to our friends... 'Hey why don't you come and help us plant vines it will be fun...' (sweetened with the promise of free booze and a BBQ) we were able to enlist a wonderful crack team of helpers.
So Saturday rolled around and it was a scorching 30 degrees, the planting crew (consisting 90% English) endured the elements with an unwavering sense of determination (for a free beer).
The crew was split into diggers and planters, the diggers making holes every 1 metre along the row directly under the dripping irrigation pipe. The planters working along the row and carefully handling each 1 year old old vine and burying it in the dirt and compacting the soil, it was a beautiful system. Dig, plant, repeat .... A LOT!
We had chosen to buy 1 year old vines which were already grafted onto American rootstock to safeguard ourselves from diseases such as phylloxera. Although it's not common in the Macedon Ranges this little insect can be carried from vineyard to vineyard and will ultimately kill all your plants. Having our vines grafted onto American rootstock protects them from these nasty little critters.
The vineyard was purposefully designed to be close planting, by having our vines one metre apart meant that the vines have to compete with each other for water and nutrients. This will help push the roots further into the soil and help us to really express our terroir.
Nearing to the end of an exhausting day, we finished our very first block of vines. None of which would have been possible without the help of all our incredible friends and family to get us across the line. Who wants to help with the second block? Any takers?