It’s a painful but necessary sight to see old cordons stacked up high for burning, however spectacular the bonfire may be. The relationship I’ve built with these vines over years of pruning and promoting vertical shoot growth, harvesting and of course producing the fruit of our labour – the wine. It always puts me in check as I recognise how fleeting moments are and how special it is to be able to bottle them.
Cordons are the canes which are trained along the cordon wire from which spring the shoots bearing the grapes for next year’s harvest. This pile of removed cordons is from half of one three acre Chardonnay block. As such, no fruit from this section will be produced this year, just extensive vegetative growth. The other half of this block was removed last year: new canes were selected and trained onto a new cordon wire during last year’s pruning season (May to August) and will produce fruit this year.
Why do we remove them? If left too long the vines will become less fruitful. To encourage new growth and vine management we ideally remove the cordons every 5 – 10 years. Cane pruned vines such as Sauvignon Blanc actually have the cordon removed annually and produce fruit on newly laid down canes.
I’ll let you know when we’ll light it up, after harvest and the fire-ban season of course but before too much rain sets in. Feel free to come along and have a memorial glass of Chardonnay in the warming glow of old friends who are responsible for producing such great cool climate Chardonnay.