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Winter Pruning

Inaugural UK Organic Vineyards Meeting

The first meeting of UK organic and biodynamic vineyards was held at Laverstoke Park Farm, near Basingstoke today.

Speakers included Ben Raskin from the Soil Association, Will Davenport from Davenport Vineyards, Vinodh Krishnamurthy from Laverstoke Park and Jane Awty from the UKVA sustainability group. Representatives from nine vineyards, as well as the Soil Association and WineSkills attended the...

Mycorrhizal Fungi still appear to be working well

Mycorrhizal Fungi

When we planted the vines we dipped the roots in a product called Rootgrow, which is a mycorrhizal fungi from a company called PlantWorks. Mycorrhizal fungi normally occurs naturally in soil. It breaks down organic matter releasing nutrients particularly phosphates and can significantly increase root capacity. Unfortunately herbicides and modern farming techniques have...

Never Mind the Weather

Nick Seymour and Alex with the Weather Station

We are now proud owners of a weather station which was delivered and installed at the vineyard yesterday by Nick Seymour.

The weather is of course a major factor in our ability to produce quality fruit. By building up weather patterns over a period of time it will help us to predict, and therefore manage, the risks of pests and disease. It will also...

Albury Vineyard features on BBC Radio Surrey

Much to my suprise I was contacted by BBC Radio Surrey last week who were keen to interview me about the vineyard. Having overcome my nerves, my vanity got the better of me and I agreed to be interviewed on a programme called "Dig It", BBC Surrey's anwer to Gardeners' Question Time.

For those of you who are desperate to hear the interview you can get to it by clicking on the following link. It's...

Preparing the Vineyard for Winter

Autumn Frost in the Vineyard

The first frosts have already arrived and we are now preparing the vineyard for winter.

November is normally a quiet time on the vineyard as the main job in the winter is pruning, which doesn't start until December or January when the leaves have all fallen and the wood has ripened.

Having said that, Alex has been busy sowing grass seed between the rows of the newly...

Pheasant in the Vineyard

In spite of there being nearly 2000 pheasant living at the top of our vineyard they haven't caused too much trouble this year.

The deer fencing keeps most of them out of the vineyard as they don't fly unless they are frightened. However those that do get in are too stupid to fly out and tend to walk up and down the fence boundary trying to find an exit. Steve, the local gamekeeper chases them out...

The Vineyard in Autumn

The growing season is pretty well at an end and we are now busy getting the vineyard in good shape for the winter. At this time next year we will hopefully be preparing for our first harvest (volunteers welcome!) but there is no fruit this year as vines don't produce any real fruit until their 3rd year. What fruit there was has either been eaten by the birds or cut off so that the available...

The Weeds are Back!

In May we planted around 13,000 new vines. The dry summer meant that they haven't grown as much as we might have hoped, but there has been some catching up as a result of the much needed rain during the last couple of weeks.

The rain has also resulted in copious amounts of weeds and rape returning to the vineyard. The initial 5 acres we planted last year are substantially weed free thanks to the...

The Science of Viticulture

Peter Hayes lecturing at Brightwell Vineyard, Wallingford

On Monday I attended a Wine Skills Masterclass given by Peter Hayes. Peter is an expert in grape growing and vineyard management having spent more than 30 years in the Australian wine industry, including Director of Viticulture at Rosemount Estates.

We spent the day learning about numerous vine management techniques including canopy...

Vineyard Agronomy

Chardonnay with Iron deficiency

Pinot Noir with Magnesium deficiency

It is essential to analyse the soil and vine tissue to understand the availability of nutrients in the soil. Even though we are organic, and never use herbicides or pesticides, it is sometimes necessary to apply nutrients to the soil and the vines to address any significant deficiencies.

Agronomyis the application of various soil...

ITV arrive at the Vineyard

ITV filming at the Silent Pool

Earlier this week an ITV film crew arrived at the vineyard but sadly only to use it as a car park! They were there to film a new drama series called The Oakes which will appear on our screens early next year. The plot involves a girl who drowns in a lake. The Silent Pool is a local beauty spot adjacent to the vineyard where they filmed the drowning.

Filming started at...