As winemakers we discern the subtle changes of vineyard performance for yield, power, ripeness, structure and flavour spectrum. We exert our first influence over the vintage with our canopy technique.
Our canopy techniques wash vines with sunlight from budburst in October to senescence in May. Sunlight leads the organic fight against disease and insects as well as creating the colour, tannin and aromatics. Mornington Peninsula is a cool region with many hours of cloud cover and so sunshine can be the limiting factor for ultimate quality.
We select north facing slopes that maximise sunshine. Row width can be a conundrum with narrow rows dampening vigour however, we choose a wider row of 2.5 metres that invites the wind and sun.
There is a lot of discussion around vine density and the role of increasing the density to increase competition. The Burgundy model is very dense with 1 metre x 1 metre. Our spacing of 2.5 metres x 1.2 metres accommodates a single arch of 10 to 14 buds and a converse thumb, or spur, with 2 buds.
We have copied arch-cane technique from Alsace. This allows us to select the most fruitful bud positions on a longer cane whilst evening out the vigour along the cane. We keep our vigour in check with hard pruning and follow up with early and earnest shoot selection.