Your (pruning) will be carried out to the following specification.

It is well-documented that all vineyard tasks must be carried out in a timely manner to ensure the best potential for the vines. When planning, (and reviewing) your vineyard calendar, it is important to include as much detail as possible. Careful thought about how you want to approach each task and what you wish to achieve in the long-term is paramount to not only creating that success, but explaining your vision to those carrying out the work. 

Confirmation in advance of what is required to complete each job is key to delivering quality work. Regular communication is another. Discussing your specifications with your labour team enables each member to feel fully involved in the outcome, increases their pride in their work and gives you peace of mind that your vineyard will be treated exactly as you would treat it yourself to the same level of detail.

With all vineyard tasks there are multiple variations of what can be done to coax optimum results from your vines. Reflecting on the current pruning season, a clear pruning specification may look like this:

  • Double Guyot
  • Eight buds per cane
  • Two replacement spurs where possible, between 10cm-25cm below the fruiting wire
  • Prunings left in a neat pile in every other row
  • Completion in approximately 10 days
  • Ideal start date.

A range of factors come into play to achieve a specification like this: the number of vines, the number of people required to complete the task in the timeframe, the availability of labourers at the time requested, the weather…etc.

Communication between the client, the labour provider and the labour teams is vital in guaranteeing success. At Vine-Works, we are fortunate to have skilled staff who can pass on instructions clearly in our labourers’ own language. In an industry largely reliant on Eastern European labour, it is well worth the investment of time and resources to make sure every team in the field is provided with this level of support.

The world of business strategy may seem at odds with the idyllic view of lovingly tending to rows of pristine vines in the summer sunshine, but to make your vineyard thrive as a business, it helps to draw on some of those tried and tested strategies, such as following the SMART technique when developing your specifications. Making sure every task is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely enables you to clearly communicate your needs and expectations. 

Someone who exemplifies this proactive approach is Tony Purdie of Yotes Court Vineyard. Tony’s instructions incorporate an element of SMART values for every job and the proof is in the results he achieves – 10 t/ha yield on average! We are very proud to work with excellent vineyard managers like Tony.

“Having relied on a small skilled team of winter pruners supplied by Vine-Works, I can rest assured they have successfully pruned our vines, setting them up well for the fast approaching growing season. Having used Vine-Works for all our labour needs since conception of the vineyard six years ago, I have nothing but admiration for the hard-working and determined Romanian crews and all the friendly experienced staff at Vine-Works. The team as a whole work professionally to provide the service growers require to produce high quality fruit and wines that the industry can be proud of,” said Tony Purdie, Yotes Court Vineyard.

At the time of writing, Vine-Works has pruned and tied down nearly 1.5 million vines – 20% more than in 2021. It is testament to the industry that it is continuing to grow and mature. Over the next few months, the focus will be on clear specifications for bud-rubbing, crown clearing, wire-lifting…

Tony Purdie