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Singlefile Wines

Phil & Viv Snowden
3 August 2023 | Phil & Viv Snowden

Winter 2023 in the Singlefile Vineyard

June and July have been cold and wet, with more frost than we can recall from previous years. It should bode well for our cool-climate loving vines as long as the weather warms up for spring! 

Our vineyard team is over half way through pruning the chardonnay and pinot noir at the Singlefile home vineyard. Pruning commenced early- to mid-June after the vines had dropped all their leaves and the sap had stopped flowing from cuttings.  The entire vineyard is being cane pruned this year which requires an extra hand or two in order to complete it in time. 

Cane pruned vines at the Singlefile vineyard

Part of the lower chardonnay vineyard has already been converted to double cordons, whereby two canes are tied down along each of two cordon wires. A few more rows of the lower chardonnay are being converted to double cordons this year. The double cordon pruning is in progress, requiring skill and experience to select the optimal canes and a lot of manual work to remove the excess canes, which are subsequently slashed to form mulch in situ. The remainder of the chardonnay and all the pinot noir vines have already been pruned and tying down is almost complete. Budburst is expected during the first week of September, leaving us a month from now during which to complete the pruning of the remaining vines.

Cuttings were kept from the upper chardonnay block for propagation of rootlings in the nursery. These will be used if we need them to extend the vineyard next year. Rootlings from last year are ready to plant this spring.

Phil with chardonnay cuttings for planting in the nursery; Vineyard Manager Brett works in the vines

The entire vineyard benefitted from the ground application of liquid humus in addition to the normal application of foliar fertiliser last year. The objective of the nutrition program was to improve water retention, nutrient buffering (to maintain a stable pH) and to boost microbial activity.

Further nutritional improvements this year include the use of:

  • gypsum to optimise the mobilisation of calcium, 
  • a superior combination of nitrogen, phosphate and zinc to stimulate early root development, plant growth and fruit set at the critical times; and
  • a buffer to flush sodium through the soil profile so that potassium is maintained at strong levels.

Over the next month we will be looking for signs of woolly bud (growth stage EL-1), where the buds begin to swell and develop a 'woolly' look. The next milestone is budburst (growth stage EL-4) and the emergence of green leaf tips, the first signature for the development of the fruit for the next vintage. 


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