Summer is just around the corner and we’ve been busy spraying the vines against powdery and downy mildew – amongst other diseases. The weather has been hot, wet, cold, windy and occasionally still. The trick is to look ahead on the forecast to find a day with no rain, and still but not too hot. You need it not to rain straight after you’ve sprayed otherwise it washes off and you have to do the whole exhausting process again.
We use bouillie bordelaise, an organic mixture of copper and sulphur. It turns your silver jewellery black, so off it all has to come before you start. We have hilly land and vines planted close together so we take the safest option and walk behind the small orange tractor which carries a 500 litre tank and a pump with a lance on a long tube. We visit every single one of 5000 vines and spray it by hand. The great thing this year is that, with the new/ancient sprayer we don’t have to kug the gloop ourselves. It takes around 450 litres to do the whole vineyard and previously we were carrying that, 7 litres at a time, in a backpack sprayer, then having to retrun to base to refill. It was a huge and onerous task. But with our new rig it still takes nine hours to do all the vines, and it’s a very long walk, but it is soooo much easier.