Monday, February 6, 2012

Vine pruning

We have decided to prune our hectare ( 2 ½ acres) of Sauvignon Blanc vines ourselves , after having a British couple tutor us on the finer points, they left and we started, well to date we have one third done after three days. There are six rows, running east to west or vice versa if you want. Each row is about 900 feet long, or the equivalent of walking down the side line of a football field, crossing the end zone, then back up the other side of the football field, then across the end zone, completing the perimeter of the entire football field. But it is all one length, and it’s more of a sideways shuffle. This morning after suiting up with the obligatory three layers of clothing, coveralls, jacket, and then an outer jacket, I made my way through the snow flurries the 300 meters away and started cutting. I continued; with each new vine you present yourself to it and stare at the structure, identify the two young growths that will carry next year’s crop and two other shoots that will be the reserves. It seems to me each dormant vine is unlike another, they all present their own set of attributes; there is a focus that is required for each pruning. Yesterday after six hours in the cold, solving each vine, it started to flow nicely. To start, after cutting the twenty or so shoots that will not be required shoots, and trimming off dead growths from the previous year, you cut the two winners at the sixth bud, and the two reservists at two buds. Then you shuffle sideways four or five feet and you present yourself to the next vine. This being my third day, I walked up the second row of six, as it was almost completed, and looked down the row to see how much more there was. After a half an hour I looked down the row again; and it seemed longer, hmmm. After another half an hour I looked down the row and it again seemed longer.
One of my favorite stand-up comedians is Stephen Wright, his irreverent humor cracks me up, I thought of one of his lines while I was looking at the vines.
“I’m not afraid of heights, I’m afraid of widths.”
I was out in the rows, not believing how they kept elongating with a weird foreshortening and then hypnotically stretching out. It was like Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo, Jimmy’s character is chasing a suspect across a roofline along with his partner, the partner slips and while hanging on Jimmy Stewart’s character kneels down to help save him, he loses focus and the height extends and shutters visually, he gets freaked. Well I got to tell you that row of vines was rough, so I kept chipping away, and finally made it to the end of the second row. Packed up the tools, and like Quasimodo as the hunchback of Petit Clos, I meandered home.
Then the snow hit, so we are of vine duty and returning into the house to start punchlisting the semi-completed rooms. Cheers all, hank

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