Monday, August 29, 2016

Pruning the vines in the Vineyard Hotel's vineyard in Newlands

Once a year, we are invited by the management of the Vineyard Hotel to join them and help prune the vines in the small vineyard on the side of the Liesbeek river in the gardens of the hotel. They have, kindly, made us custodians of one vine. As some of the other people who have been granted a vine are unable to come, we often find that we do a good part of a row, which we enjoy immensely
It is great to be taught a little more technique on pruning methods each year by a different winemaker or viticulturist ,although some do differ widely in their methods. Last year, after we had pruned, one the viticulturists came and did a really hard prune back which may have resulted in the smaller crop in 2016. This year, we were told that the intention was to be not quite so rigorous
The vines had been shortened earlier for the two bud pruning. Here are winemakers and the Vineyard's own horticulturalist, Bruce Nutman, in discussion
The vines get a thorough examination at this time of the year
Last year 24 Chardonnay vines were added onto the vineyard and Roy Davies, GM of the Vineyard Hotel. took us through to the new site to see how they were doing
This is a young chardonnay vine in the newest section of the vineyard
It won't be long, perhaps another two or three years, before this Chardonnay vineyard will be able to produce grapes for wine
It is always a very social early morning meeting with a glass of bubbly and or orange juice with some breakfast snacks
Bruce Nutman giving instructions
The winemakers take off the unnecessary shoots
Roy shows us where to prune
An early spring butterfly arrived to enjoy the sunshine
and we get going
Meerlust winemaker Chris Williams showing how its done
Count two buds and prune at an angle. This is our healthy vine right on the front of the riverside
A bee on a dandelion, a harbinger of Spring
It goes very quickly as there are many pruners to each row
David Wibberley says 'almost done'
Final checks
Two of the giant tortoises for which the Vineyard Hotel is so famous have come out of hibernation and were warming themselves in a very sunny spot
Time for some light refreshment. The Pruners reward is a good lunch with some excellent wines provided by the farms involved
Chefs preparing the salmon on the braai
Succulent salmon being portioned
Very cheesy cauliflower and broccoli au gratin
A lovely substantial salad of barley, cranberries, roasted butternut and avocado
Some super wines to enjoy with lunch
Klaus Schilling has painted this ostrich and presented it to the hotel as a gift
He and his wife, Cornelia, were enjoying the day
Mini melkterts for dessert
with sticky koeksisters
Or a cheese platter
Chef JB Louw and Vineyard Legend waitress Naeema
Steamed sticky toffee puddings
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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