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The pruning is long done, but the biggest job in the vineyard is just the first job of the season. Today we’ve completed the first post-pruning mow of each row, after starting last weekend. It’s much better than the pre-pruning mow where you get slapped in the face by every single cane.

Following mowing the vineyard, we need to mark vines for eutypa lata, or dead arm disease. This disease is why we “surgically removed” the aforementioned shed load of wood.

But before we can mark for eutypa, we need to be able to see the vine, so the labour intensive job of undervine brush cutting fell to me.

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You won’t see a neat, tidy, barren, dead strip under our vines know as a herbicide strip. We haven’t sprayed herbicide in three years and don’t intend to again. Instead we mow and brush cut the weeds down, creating a natural weed mat, natural mulch, and returning organic matter to the soil structure.

Grass roots – alive or otherwise – are like a pincushion into the soil, allowing for rain or irrigation penetration and retention.

My belief is that these weeds, with shallow root structures, are not robbing the vines of much or any moisture and nutrient, particularly with how we irrigate our vines. Instead they create a cooling effect in summer and a habitat for beneficial insects like the ladybird.

Tomorrow we enjoy a day off and lunch at the new Artisans of Barossa restaurant, courtesy of Sarah’s employer. Sarah was recognised personally this week by her company’s CMO. She not only busts her arse in the vineyard helping me each weekend, but busts her arse every Monday to Friday too. Looking forward to a well deserved lunch! 🍷

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