My monthly ramblings on life in an English vineyard continue in Sussex Life – March 2015.
March is a lovely month as it now really feels like spring is on its way. With the days lengthening and getting warmer the vines are showing the first signs of growth as sap rises and oozes out of the pruning cuts as we now race ahead to get all our pruning finished and the canes tied down.
As the ground has dried out rapidly, we are finally able to get back on the vineyard with the tractor. We started with mulching the vine prunings and spreading green waste compost to add valuable organic matter to the vineyard and improve long term soil structure. Next we are spreading lime in certain areas to re-dress the pH balance of the soil. Finally, we are sub-soiling to remove compaction where the tractor tyres track every time they go up and down a row, followed by harrowing to remove the ridges and create a smooth surface for seeding. We are going to experiment with a few seed mixes for the seeding involving some clovers, chicory and yellow trefoil and dwarf grasses with the aim of establishing a rapid cover that will improve nutrition, soil structure and organic matter levels.
In the winery we are just as busy with the start of bottling. So far we have bottled the 2014 Estate Selection and White Pinot Noir. The photo above shows the bottles as they come off the end of the line.
On April 25, we will be sampling some of these wines for the first time at the 2015 Brighton Wine Fair event at Hotel du Vin. Tickets available from www.brightonwinefair.com. Please do come along or book onto one of our Tours: www.albourneestate.co.uk.