A quick thank you for all those customers that came out to the tasting room over the weekend for the Cabernet Franc release, it proved to be a hugely succesful weekend. It seems like our customers really like our newest Cabernet Franc, and I have to admit, it is my favorite wine of the last couple of vintages. If you have tried it and have any comments, I would love to hear what you have to say.
In my last post I hopefully gave a little insight into how we go about pruning, and how we determine the crop load for a specific block of vines. in this post I would like to explain the way in which we train our vines to grow, as I was asked if there is a specific system we use.
We use a system called V.S.P or Vertical Shoot Positioning System. As the name suggests, the fruit bearing shoots grow vertically, tucked into two or three sets of parallel catch wires. This by no means the only training system out there and the choice of system is again dependent on a variety of factors. To explain in a bit more detail, the trunk of the vine comes up to wire, roughly 40 inches of the ground, where it splits into two arms that run three feet either side of the trunk parralel to the ground. These arms are called the cordons and in this case it is a bilateral cordon. On the cordon you have your spurs, pruned to 3 buds, out of which shoots that will carry your fruit will grow.
This system is perfect for our vineyard as we do not have a vigorous site, and if done correctly, is one of the most aesthetically pleasing training systems out there.
There are other systems out there, and the V.S.P system might not be applicable for a vigorous site.Iin this case the grower or winery might choose to split the canopy and use a system called the Ballerina or Smart Dyson, whereby some shoots are not tucked into catch wires above the cordon, but are allowed to sprawl into the row at an angle of 130 degrees or more.
It comes down to knowing your vineyard, and only through trial and error do you really work out what works and what does not. Even after 7 harvests at Keswick, we are still trying to find the perfect way to grow and manage our vines. I am not sure if there is a perfect way, maybe just a perfect way for that particular growing season.
No-one said it was easy but it sure is fun and challenging, why else would we do it