Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pruning the vineyard at The Vineyard

Up bright and early on Saturday morning, admittedly a little bleary eyed after such a hectic week and a late night the previous evening, to head for the Vineyard Hotel. It was time to prune our vines! After a welcome drink of bubbly, it was time to learn how and we found  a great teacher in Waterford cellarmaster Kevin Arnold. John took photos while Lynne honed her pruning skills, then it was off to enjoy a lovely buffet and braai lunch in the Wellness centre where some delicious vintage wines from the sponsors were brought out of the cellar to enjoy.(Thank you Matt Dietchmann, the Food and Beverage Manager.)
Roy Davies General Manager of the Hotel in Western cowboy mode with PR Consultant Wendy Masters of The Phoenix Partnership
Clutching glasses of bubbles, we listen to the programme for the morning
It flowed as pruning is thirsty work. More Simonsig Brut and Rosé come to satisfy the workers
Neil Pendock in discussion with Greg Landman
Roy Davies, Kevin Arnold of Waterford, Neil Pendock and Kitty Petousis, owner of the Vineyard hotel
The Liesbeek River was in full flood with water from the mountain after a week of rainGood snacks were provided
Lisa Airey and friend
Photographer Samantha Lowe and Kitty Petousis, owner of the Vineyard hotel
Nic van Aarde, winemaker at Warwick who made the wine from this vineyard this year, with Kevin Arnold of Waterford
Roy tells us whom to ask for help with the pruning
Kevin Arnold give us very clear instructions on vine pruning which is very different from rose pruning
Roy, Neil, Stuart Banner and ??
First you trim to a third and then remove the longer stockies to give you room to work
Then you remove last years wood and leave only two buds on the base of each stokkie
Norma Ratcliffe and Angela Lloyd getting involved
Kathryn Henderson of Classic Wine has got the technique down to a fine art
Why cant we plant up the right bank? It seems the hotel does not own that bank
Weeds are not encouraged but this opportunist is quite pretty
And then, magically as John took the photograph, this bee took up a perfect position
neighbour’s charming cat, who has taken up the Vineyard as his territory
In the words of Meerlust winemaker Chris Williams, is he the source of the isopropyl methoxymethyl pyrazine (cat's pee on a gooseberry bush) flavours typical of sauvignon blanc?
We decamp exhausted to the Health and Fitness centre for lunch
Tables laid and waiting In the background an examination of the wines on offer for lunch from the Vineyard's cellar
There were some great choices. We know how good they were, we insisted on trying to taste them all
Delicious salad buffet
Even more delicious were the desserts, although we think the muesli and yogurt might have been left from breakfast
The Health and Fitness Centre is perfect for functions and lunches
Edible flowers for the food
The braai going full tilt, cooking the salmon and the lamb
Very spicy tandoori lamb
Try some white?
Close to the indoor pool and no one fell in, despite the exhaustion from pruning a vine each
A lovely plate of lunch
 Good news, spring has sprung, the giant tortoises have awoken from their sleep and are on the move again
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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