Thursday, May 08, 2008

Vineyard buggy

I wasn’t going to write about this, because, well, I didn’t want you to think I was going soft, but the little vineyard buggy pictured below has been such an unqualified success that I feel compelled to share!

I’ve written about de-budding (or shoot thinning) the vines before… when the vines start to grow they produce a huge number of unwanted shoots that need to be removed to ensure a open, airy environment for the future grapes to ripen in. Physically I find this the single hardest job of the year since it involves spending about 30 seconds either crouching or bent double in front of each of my 20,000 30cm-high vines. Ideally this needs to be finished before early June, which doesn’t exactly leave much idle time… so when my parents were here in March I asked my father whether he could build a buggy so that I could de-bud while seated! And here is the result…The key is the row-straddling concept that allows each of the 3-wheels to run in the centre of a row, which in my vineyards are conveniently smooth and grassy. Equally fortuitous, almost all my vineyards are on a very slight slope so rolling from vine to vine is basically effortless. The construction in copper was merely a matter of convenience since I had some leftover from a plumbing project, and no one I know has any experience welding steel!

As far as I know the concept is unique in Burgundy, and certainly I feel acutely self-conscious in the enquiring gaze of hardened pros, but my comfort is such that I can live with that!


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