Vineyard Update – preparing the vines for the upcoming 2020 vintage
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The past few weeks have presented a profound change to daily life for everyone across the UK. At Hencote, we have had to close our entire Estate to the public for the first time since our opening, including our restaurant The View, our Accommodation in the Grange and Glamping Village, our wine shop and all of our guided wine tours. Whereas much of our closure was mandated by Government restriction and we can technically still open our shop, we have felt that to fully ensure the safety of the wider public, maintaining a full closure of the Estate is necessary.
Nonetheless, our online wine shop remains open and we are incredibly grateful for all the support we have received through your orders in the past week and we hope that so long as we are unable to welcome you back to the Estate, that you can continue to enjoy our wines from the security of your homes.
Vineyard work in March
Where most of our Estate is closed, the essential work on our vineyard continues. We are now a few short weeks from budburst and the beginning of the 2020 season and our preparations over the winter have hopefully put us in the position for another fantastic year.
Vineyard work is a family affair at Hencote and the whole family have been out over the past few months to assist in pruning and tying each vine by hand, to put them in the best possible shape for start of the season. From all along the cane, new life will burst free in the coming weeks bringing with it green new growth and all the inflorescences which will transform into the delicious, plump grapes that makes our wine.
To help prepare our vines we’ve been carefully tying down the canes in a bow shape along our trellis wires. This allows even spacing between the new shoots which will burst along the canes later this month, signifiying the beginning of the growing season. With this event, known as budburst, comes one of the most crucial and challenging periods of every year – protecting the vines from Spring overnight frosts.
As any of you who have been on one of our wine tours will know, protection from Spring frosts is one of the most crucial events in every season’s calendar.
Overnight temperatures in Shrewsbury in April and May can plummet to below zero degrees, usually on evenings with clear skies and little wind or cloud coverage. Extended sub-zero temperatures will damage the young green shoots of the vine causing them to wither and die, leading to a total crop loss on all affected vines.
This where our frost protection equipment comes into action! By carefully monitoring temperatures that will indicate an upcoming frost event, a member of our Hencote wine team will then head out to the vineyard in the early hours of the morning to activate our Frostguard and our Cold Air Drain (pictured below), which act to stimulate air movement throughout the vineyard and raise the overall temperature of the site and to protect our vines.
With the possibility of up to ten frost events every Spring, the prospect of early mornings and overnight shifts really does make vineyard work a labour of love; but when the end result is happy, healthy vines it’s worth every moment.
Throughout this lockdown, we’ll be hoping to keep you entertained and informed through short videos of life in the vineyard and winery and the work that goes into making our wine. Stay tuned to our Instagram and Facebook for more!
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