Winter in the Vineyard - Protecting the Vines & The Earth

"During winter, a series of essential changes take place in the vines. These changes lay down the groundwork for new growth in spring and play a role in determining the success of a new vintage.

"As the weather quickly cools and with the ripening season in this corner of the world being relatively short, the vines quickly display an abundance of colours and then all the leaves fall signifying the dormancy period.

"It's now when root systems begin searching for the food that is held within the soils that we manage. We take care of the pasture growth that surrounds them and we pride ourselves in maintaining a healthy nutrient-rich soil minimising any impact from machinery and avoiding any cultivation to keep the vine strong during winter. 

"At this time, we begin the important and delicate process of pruning where we cut back vines to specific and nominated buds to allow growth that will carry next year's fruit. 

"It can be a cold and wet process that we purposely do by hand. As mentioned, we avoid traffic on the soil. We aim to protect the roots and give them ample opportunity to grow comfortably. We prune in a manner that allows sufficient space between buds and we have a split canopy so that we can maximise sunlight when it eventually returns and new growth begins. 

"Pruning in this way can be at times tiring and uncomfortable but it's important for the quality and flavour of the grapes. It allows us to use the natural resources offered and exhibit the most from them while maintaining soil biology.

"In effect, we are protecting the vine and the earth it's growing in.

"The aim is for this to be reflected in the wines that with any luck (and a lot of hard work) will give rise to a fantastic vintage."

Andy Coventry - Three Hills Vineyard Manager