Saturday, 25 August 2012

New Website goes live -

We are delighted with our new website which has just gone live. Developed by Dave Nyss of d2, it provides more information about the vineyard and an improved user interface. It will also allow customers to purchase the wine on-line when we release this years vintage next May.

The new site has information on stockists, including local wine merchants and restaurants who have our wines on their lists. Sadly most have already sold out!

You can also sign-up for email updates which will including blog updates and a quarterly newsletter.

Hope you like it. Comments welcome - good or bad!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Horn Silica (501)

We were up early this morning preparing biodynamic preparation 501 which is a Horn Silica spray. It is most effective if sprayed at sunrise, when the dew is still on the ground, so we met at 5.30am to prepare the mixture and Alex was on the vineyard spraying soon after 6.30am!

Horn Silica is used during the growing season to enhance growth and maturation. It is sprayed on the vine canopy to enhance the photosynthesis of the leaves to improve growth and maturation. It helps to stabilise plant metabolism and increases nutritive value. It can also strengthen the vines against attack by fungus.

It is prepared by making a paste using finely ground quartz crystals and water. This is placed in cow horn and buried during the Spring. Small amounts of the crystals are then dissolved into water and sprayed on the vineyard. The crystals enhance the effectiveness of light on the vines and so it is best sprayed on sunny days.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Downy Mildew

Downy Mildew "oilspots"
Unfortunately we have found evidence of Downy Mildew on the vineyard in Blocks A and C. Initial symptoms are usually seen on the leaves, which show yellow "oilspots" on the leaf surface. It is caused by the fungus Plasmopara viticola and is potentially a devastating disease as it can spread very rapidly through the vineyard causing the foliage to die as well as infecting the grape bunches.

Downy Mildew infected grapes
Downy Mildew only occurs in specific wetness and temperature conditions. There has to be 10mm or more of rainfall with a temperature of 10C over a 24 hour period (often referred to as 10:10:24 conditions) with rain towards the end of the 24 hour period followed by several hours of leaf wetness. It spreads when overnight conditions are 13C or more and several hours of leaf wetness occur after dawn. The fungus also produces white "downy" patches on the underside of the leaves.

The only organic approved fungicides effective against Downy Mildew are based on copper hydroxide and copper sulphate. However we are restricted to using small amounts and they will only help prevent the fungus from spreading and won't eradicate existing infections.

Alex will be spraying the effected areas with copper today and the rest of the vineyard with potassium bicarbonate which may also help.

Not a good weather year for the vineyard!