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Our New Pinot Noir Vineyard Development

Vineyard Development 2019

In 2018 we had the opportunity to purchase an additional parcel of farmland, connecting our existing farm and vineyard properties in Spotswood.

This new acquisition is being converted to a Pinot Noir vineyard featuring 300 rows, 30,000 vines and covering six hectares (14.8  acres).

On average it can take up to three years to produce grapes worthy of harvesting and producing wine with. This estimate is based on a number of factors including how well the vine is tended to, soil types, sunlight, pruning techniques, etc.

New Pinot Noir Vineyard Development Post Installation

The photo above shows new posts being placed by machine. 

Photos: Garrick Guy, Vineyard Manager  

Frost Protection in Our Vineyard

Kaikoura Helicopters 

During the spring time, temperatures can dip quite low during evenings and put our vines at risk of the damaging effects of frost.

There's a variety of means to fight against frost damage in the vineyard including the use of wind machines, sprinklers, hot air burners and helicopters.

The use of helicopters is one of the most expensive and most effective methods. Their large blades help circulate the air and push warm air down towards the ground. Sometimes they fly around for hours doing just that.

If our Vineyard Manager thinks there might be frost the coming morning, he calls in these choppers from Kaikoura. They are parked at the vineyard and the pilots stay in Cheviot for the night "on call."

If the frost alarms go off, Fin calls the pilots who arrive within 10 minutes to fly the helicopters and start the fight against frost!

Bud Break In Our Vineyard


IMG 0107

Here in the US we are officially in the fall season however in New Zealand, spring is on the horizon. In fact we just received word of bud break in our Chardonnay blocks this morning. The 2017 vintage is already underway!

Pruning In Our Estate Vineyard

Pruningih

Pruning is an annual event in our vineyard that helps control the size and shape of the grapevines. It also helps optimize the vines’ production potential, so we have beautiful and quality fruit yields.

Pruning By Hand

Performed very carefully and entirely by hand with secateurs and loppers, this is an essential activity of vineyard management that sets the stage for the vineyard’s performance and productivity for the coming year and years ahead.

Pruning G

Pruning H

With 184 acres planted to vines at Mt. Beautiful, and over 20 unique blocks, pruning is an especially active time in our vineyard that spans the course of 2-3 months; typically June through August, during New Zealand’s winter months. It also happens to be the most expensive single activity of the year where our permanent staff joins forces with several seasonal hires in the vineyard.

Pruning B

Fin Grieve, our Vineyard Manager, uses his vast experience and judgement when choosing which of the two primary pruning methods (spur or cane) will be optimal for a given vineyard block, taking into consideration desired crop levels, the characteristics of each varietal and the block’s location.

Primarily we cane prune most of the vineyard however Riesling responds particularly well to spur pruning. In addition we also spur prune small areas of our Pinot Noir.

Pruning A

Here’s more information on these two different types of pruning techniques used at Mt. Beautiful / Teece Family Vineyard.

Cane Pruning:

This method is normally better suited for colder climates or vines growing outside regions that are on the cold end of their preferred range, however, cane pruning is more labor intensive and risky, as it necessitates someone with a trained eye who knows how to choose the best canes. If a poor choice is made, the vine may produce less than favorable results.

With cane pruning, two or three canes growing from the head of the vine are selected and preserved for the following year. These canes should be a minimum of 8-10 mm wide (pencil width) and be one-year-old wood with evenly spaced and healthy looking buds (internodes).

The selected canes are then wrapped and tied to the trellis wire. Before removing all of the remaining dormant canes, replacement spurs are identified and cut back to two or three buds. These provide insurance that there will be at least some replacement canes should the vine not produce canes in the areas that we want for the following year’s pruning.

Pruningij

Pruning C

Spur Pruning
Spur pruning is easier for beginning pruners to learn, especially when pruning older vines that have pronounced cordons and spurs.

Cordons are canes that are not replaced (left on the wire for many years) and spurs are where the buds that produce shoots in spring are cut back to the cordon . With this method, the one-year-old wood growing from the spurs of the cordon are pruned back so only one or two buds are left as close as possible to the cordon. As the shoots grow they will need to later be tied to the trellis.

The advantage of spur pruning is that it generally yields a higher likeliness for a uniform bud break and also creates a spatial balance along the cordon which is advantageous for crop loading and minimizing disease pressure.

A disadvantage of spur pruning is that it’s possible for spurs to stop producing one-year-old wood, leaving permanent gaps in the cordon, If that occurs we usually replace the cordon with a new cane.

 

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