A mothballed vineyard is not a pretty sight, especially not after downy mildew had gone through it. It was so humid this spring that mildew was a real problem and we missed to treat the outbreak in good time. Luckily it was only downy and not powdery mildew. The difference is shown in the next picture.
The two mildews (with a spelling mistake)
Mothballed vineyards react forcefully to being chopped off at the top. If no spurs or canes are left there, the vines respond to the brutal treatement with increased and vigorous growth of side shoots all over the place. These need to be removed.
So what did I do during my holidays on the farm?
I was “desucking”, as it is called colloquially. Every morning from about seven to nine I walked through the Sauvignon Blanc and the Merlot blocks of our vineyard and brushed the suckers (side shoots) off.
The work is easy. It is ritualistic and has an almost religious quality. You bend down in front of the vine (and show your respect) while breaking out all the shoots except the ones on the top.
After my work of “de-sucking”
The fruit of hard labour: clean vines everywhere
Unfortunately, I could not finish the two other blocks, the Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay. Next time I will be smarter and take longer holidays.