Post-harvest vineyard care – Part 1

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After the excitement of harvest with the anticipation of making wine, it is easy to overlook the need of the vineyard. This period after the harvest and before the leaves fall from the vines is exceptionally important and requires care and attention.

During this time the vines are busy photosynthesising at a rapid rate to store carbohydrates as energy for the winter months. During the cold months, the vines move into a dormant phase where the vines are bare but still very much alive. In preparation, for this time the vines are searching for core nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous to name a few. However, the soil’s nutrients would have been depleted during the growing months that enabled the quality fruit to make Paserene’s wines. It is essential then, after the harvest, to analyse the soils and take action to replenish the nutrients.

Two core practices to introduce nutrients back into the soil are fertilising and planting cover crops. Fertilising offers the chance to accurately calculate and distribute the reduced components to each vine. Cover crops are other plants that are grown between the rows of vines that will naturally add elements to the soil and help oxygenate as well. Cover crops also offer other benefits such as reducing soil erosion and deterring invader plant species. These techniques can be used individually or together to customise meeting the needs of each vineyard.

Ensuring the vineyard has enough water during this time is also important to consider since water helps move the nutrients deeper into the soil and hydration is needed for the roots to absorb the essential elements.

The window for the vines to store energy is directly impacted by the region’s climate, with warm regions having a longer period and cold regions requiring a speedy analysis and action.

These carbohydrate stores ensure that vines will survive during the winter months and are the energy that kickstarts the growing season with budburst. It is then essential that there are enough reserves to enable the next season’s growth and ultimate harvest.

Paserene grows its quality fruit in three different regions, cold Elgin, moderate Franschhoek and hot Tulbagh, each requiring specialised knowledge and attention. Martin Smith, Paserene’s winemaker, ensures each vineyard undergoes careful soil analysis ensuring the needs are met. This is an investment in the health and quality of future vintages of the Paserene wines you have come to love. 

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