In our Know your Vines blog series we will share practical tips on what metrics to monitor in your vineyard. This is the fourth instalment, stay tuned for more as the coming seasons unfold!
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
Mid winter pruning weights video with Matt Strugnell, Ridgeview Wine
The onset of chilly winter conditions can only mean one thing in a vineyard, it’s time to prune back the vines. It marks the end of one growing season before the onset of the next.
What can we learn from the remaining canes? Unfortunately vines can’t talk, but their pruning weights can tell you a lot about vine health and vigour. You can use this information to understand how your vines are performing and inform decisions for the season ahead.
We spent the day with Matt Strugnell who has managed Ridgeview Wine Estate for 20 years and pruned a fair few vines in his time! Monitoring pruning weights is integral to his management strategy.
Matt showed us how he has perfected the art of getting pruning weights, starting with how to tame vine branches into neat bundles so it’s easy to record their weight as well
as simple timesaving tricks like using a loop of string, rather than tying up the bundle each time.
Now he records all his pruning weights in Sectormentor whilst he is out in the vines, no more typing things up when he’s back home and navigating multiple spreadsheets to figure out what it all means. With Sectormentor that’s all done automatically, so by the time he’s back in the office he can look on the vine health indicator to see the average pruning weights for each block compared to previous years, as well as cane weight and the crop load. Watch the video below of Matt demonstrating how to measure the pruning weight for one bay of vines.
Scales (Matt uses Berkley fish scales)
String (Loop ends to easily attach to scales)
Warm clothes! 🙂
Monitoring with Sectormentor:
Sectormentor makes it easy to record pruning weights at the touch of a button on your smartphone out in the vineyard. All the information you record is available as soon as you get back to the office. Using our Vine Health Indicator Tool you can see trends in pruning weights, cane weight and crop load (Ravaz Index) for each block providing an early indication of areas that need extra attention or a change in management. Recording pruning weights provides invaluable insights into the long term health of your vines. Many people don’t record them because it is too much effort, but we have made it into a simple 2 step process:
Measure the pruning weights, record in the Sectormentor app
Look at the graphs of the results on Sectormentor dashboard when you are back at the computer, decide on management approaches accordingly.