Leaf Removal

Leaf Removal using a Collard machine
Around this time of year it is important to remove some of the foliage around the forming bunches of grapes. This opens up the canopy which improves airflow and reduces the risk of disease. It also allows the grapes to be exposed to more sunlight which improves flavour characteristics. Those of you interested in more detail should read Dr Richard Smart's excellent book Sunlight in Wine.

Last year we removed the leaves by hand but now that we have 21,000 vines it's too much work to do manually and so this year we decided to use the services of Andy from Upperton Vineyards who has a machine made by Collard to do the job.

Rapid pulses of relatively low pressure air literally shake the leaves to pieces and blows the debris out of the canopy leaving the grapes more exposed to the sunlight. The process only took about a day and a half for the whole vineyard.

Bunches exposed after leaf removal