Q&A with Langmeil
1.What’s happening now in the vineyard at Langmeil? Having just gone past the shortest day of the year it is well and truly pruning season. Langmeil has around 75 acres of our own vines, some in the south, some in the middle of the Barossa Valley and some up in the high country of Eden Valley and now we get out and prune the vines getting them ready for the spring.
2.How are you preparing the vines for winter? Depending on the vineyard, normal winter preparation can be under vine weeding, in which we try and use older methods such as knifing which cuts through the soil and turns the weeds over, a little like spading off weeds like you would at home. In a lot of our vineyard we now have permanent grasses but in some cases we may also sow in a cover crop to help build organics.
3.What type of pruning do you abide by and why? This depends on the variety mainly, we Rod and Spur all of our old vine and most of our younger vine shiraz, while varieties like grenache and cabernet sauvignon, tend to be more permanent arm. We are also now looking at laying down new canes and only allowing to have a permanent arms for shorter periods, the aim being around five years.
4.Why is pruning so important? Pruning allows you to help manage the vines and more importantly the fruit and fruit quality. Often you look at the vine to see how vigorous each one is and you can prune to help to strengthen and also to help balance a vine out. Pruning helps to determine how many bunches you may get, which will determine, the size of the bunches, and the weight of the berries. If you feel it is going to be a dry year you may prune harder leaving less buds, or if you think it will be a wet year you may leave more. Pruning is also fundamental in shaping the vines and maintaining vine health. Often people prune looking at the year ahead, so pruning should always be focused on making the vine stronger and better for the next season.
5.How long does it take to prune your vines? As a small winery we try and manage the pruning with a small team and try and balance the work load throughout the whole season. We find the southern block always shots first so we try and prune this early, then the Tanunda block and then up to Eden Valley which is the last to shot.
6.What are the plans for July and August in the vineyard? As mentioned pruning is priority, we also look (as we do all year) at soil health and trellising, all the jobs you need to do while the vines are asleep for the winter months.
7.Do you ever go to Europe to do the vintage there? Some of the Langmeil crew have been lucky enough to do vintages abroad but mainly these have been in the USA. Every year we try and have internationals with experience do vintage with us at Langmeil. We are also lucky to travel the world when showcasing Langmeil wines through our distributors globally and with this we often share portfolios with many wineries from around the world. There’s also a sharing of knowledge and obviously a shared love for all things wine. It does not matter where you are from in the world we all do the same things come pruning time and we all share the same goals, doing our best to make great wines and sharing them with the world’s wine lovers and enjoying them around the dinner or lunch tables with family and friends.