It's exciting times as 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?