Couch Grass - an Organic Nightmare

The dreaded couch grass has appeared on the perimeter of the vineyard. Couch grass is a noxious weed whose spiked flowers somewhat resemble an ear of wheat in structure. It is a perennial grass and the rhizome spreads rapidly in all directions in light soil, sending up leafy stems from the nodes.

Couch can be a nightmare for organic growers as we can't use herbicides and the only real way of...

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Frost attacks the Vineyard

For the second night running the vineyard has suffered a fairly severe frost causing damage to buds and leaves on the vines. Were not sure how much damage has been done but it will become apparent during the next few days as leaves will appear burnt and buds will shrivel and fall off where the frost has attacked them.

New shoots will appear in a few weeks time but they won't be as vigerous or...

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No time to vote - 12,600 more Vines Planted!

Oblivious to the election results, we were up at 5am yesterday morning to complete the planting of the vineyard. Thanks to Volker Scheu and his satellite guided planting machine, we managed to finish the planting of another 12,600 vines on about 7.5 acres in little more than 24 hours.

The new vines are mainly the traditional champagne varieties including:

Varietal Rootstock No.

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Bud Burst and Jack Frost

Bud Burst - Pinot Noir

Spring sees the vines awake from their dormant period over winter. As sunshine increases, the buds begin to burst. The majority of our vines at now at the stage of "full swell". Some are at "bud burst" and a few are showing "first leaf".

This is a risky time in the vineyard as a severe frost can burn the buds. At worse this can result in the entire season's crop being lost....

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Something from Dr Who? No - Our New Sprayer!

Looking like something from Dr Who, the sprayer for the vineyard arrived last week.

We decided to go for a second hand model (supplied by Nick Seymour) to get some experience of spraying compost teas before investing in a new one. Already we have had some difficulties, with the larger particles in the tea blocking the nozzles but Alex is confident that we will be able to overcome this little...

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The Best Brew in Surrey!

Vino and Joel from Laverstoke with the Compost Tea Brewer

Last week we took delivery of our very own compost tea brewer, courtesy of the team at Laverstoke Park.

Compost tea is a water based extract of compost that is "brewed" aerobically to extract organisms (bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes). This is done by filling the tank with de-chlorinated water and submerging some woody compost into...

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Thanks to the team at DNX (an award winning marketing agency also based in Albury) we now have a new corporate logo and website

As well as providing information about the vineyard and the wines we hope to produce, the web site also gives some background to organic viticulture and wine making in the UK. There is also a link to this blog.

Please let me have any comments...

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Alex joins the team as Vineyard Manager

I'm delighted that Alex Valsecchi has joined the team as Vineyard Manager.

Until recently Alex was at at RHS Wisley responsible for the Orchard, Nursery, Model Fruit Area and the Vineyard. Alex has extensive experience in Vineyard Management having created the vineyard at Wisley following several years practical experience working on vineyards in New Zealand.

Alex will be responsible for all aspects...

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Friendly Fungi working well

Mycorrhizal fungi at work

Back in May when we planted the vines we decided to dip the roots in a product called Rootgrow, which is a mycorrihzal 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...

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The Soil Food Web and Compost Teas

Just attended a facinating seminar on Compost Teas given by Dr Elaine R Ingham at Laverstoke Park.

The Soil Food Web is a diverse community of microscopic organism which live in the soil. There are hundreds of thousands of species and this biology is an integral part of a healthy ecosystem. These soil dwellers are performing important tasks that allow plants to thrive and grow. As they eat, grow...

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No Mud on the A25!

Philip and Gary have created an excellent new hard standing to the entrance of the Vineyard. Hopefully this will mean that tractor wheels will be washed when leaving the vineyard so that we don't deposit large pieces of mud all over the A25. We will see!

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Vine Diseases and Compost Tea

Downy Mildew

The main diseases that can effect vines during the growing season are Powdery Mildew, Downy Mildew and Botrytis. Downy Mildew has unfortunately arrived at Albury!

Downy Mildew is a white down that appears on the underside of the leaves causing them to wither and die, the fruit can also be attacked. The standard treatment in an organic vineyard is a copper solution.

As the name suggests...

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