During the winter months, before the new growth starts, one of the most laborious and important activities in the vineyard is winter pruning. Mature vines left unpruned can become a tangled mass of growth, with grapes vying for sunlight and space, with no berries giving their best. Here in the southern hemisphere, pruning takes place during the months of June to September.
Correct pruning methods ensure a robust vineyard, with optimum growth, healthy berries – and the bottom line, which is a great wine in the glass.
For the last two years, Simonsig has engaged with an international company, Simonit&Sirch in order to train farm workers in the intricacies of pruning to prolong the lifespan of the vineyards. This company works in partnership with wine farms all over the world, to ensure that staff are well trained in both the theory and practice of optimising vines though correct pruning methods. It is very satisfying to see farm workers engaging with their instructor to learn new methods in trellising vineyards, bush vines and very young 1 and 2 year old vines. By investing in their workers, the Malan’s are investing in the future of their farm, and in producing great wines.
Canopy management is defined as: “Finding the balance between the fruit and enough foliage to facilitate photosynthesis without excessive shading that could impede grape ripening or promote grape diseases.”
Says Francois Malan: “We recognize the importance of pruning for healthy vineyards, and believe that canopy management is crucial for the long-term success of our vineyards.”
Going from vine to vine, bent over each detail, making clever decisions and meticulous cuts, makes for long days and sore backs in the vineyard. But everyone at Simonsig knows that these back-breaking days will deliver results during harvest in the new year. The rest of us are looking forward to tasting the fruits of their labour in the bottle.