Out in the vines, if you look very closely, you will see the first signs of spring.
From afar, the vines look to still be dormant, but take a closer look and it is a different story. The woolly bud scales are beginning to open as the buds swell, and the sap is beginning to seep from the pruned ends; a sure sign the vines are waking up for the spring. You might think that the sound of over 300 children enjoying the Vineyard’s first Easter Egg Hunt or the prospect of meeting Benny the Easter Bunny would be enough to awaken the vines…but no! The vines slept peacefully waiting for warmer temperatures.
In the absence of leaves to make their own food (via photosynthesis), the growth is being powered by reserves stored in the woody portion of the vine during the previous season. Depending upon the growing conditions, the vines are reliant upon this food source for the first month of growth. Until the first 12 leaves appear the growth is entirely controlled by the buds.
At this time, we are at the mercy of the weather. As the vines leave their dormant state, the ability to weather low temperatures is lost and the buds are susceptible to damage. But we cannot control Mother Nature, so in the meantime, we are working to make sure everything is ready for the ‘grand flush of growth’; tying in the vines, tightening wires, repairing posts and clearing weeds beneath the rows.
We also take this opportunity for maintenance around the vineyard in preparation for the busy summer season ahead, but this year, some maintenance projects are proving to be larger than others…
Our windmill finally hung up its fins one stormy night after suffering through the recent series of tempests.
Whilst this would make for a unique steeplechase element for our English Wine Week Dedham Vale Vines Run, it will rise again at some point in the future!
If you haven’t visited the Vineyard before, take the opportunity now to explore spring in an English vineyard on our self-guided ‘Vine to Wine’ Tour. Enjoy the spring vines, woodlands and walks and spot some of the interesting wildlife in the vineyard (including Ruby!) along the way. We are expecting the first turtle doves to arrive any day now…